What happens at the election count

Please read our information on how we are supporting residents and businesses, as well as information on affected services.

Cornwall Council Elections Thursday 6 May 2021

On Election day the polls close at 10.00pm. All ballot boxes are then collected from the polling stations and transported to a notified location where the votes are counted. Candidates, election agents and counting agents have details of the time and location of the count in advance.

Who can attend the count?

  • The candidate and an one extra person
  • Appointed election agents
  • Appointed counting agents
  • Accredited Electoral Observers appointed by the Electoral Commission
  • Electoral Commission representatives

At the discretion of the Returning Officer (who is in charge of running the elections) more people may attend the count.


Everyone who attends the count must protect the secrecy of the ballot.

The count

The count has two parts.  Firstly, each ballot box received at the count centre is opened and the number of votes from each polling station is verified. Once the numbers of votes have been verified (including postal votes) the counting and sorting of the votes for each candidate begins. Votes may be rejected if it is not possible to determine the intention of the voter, or if they are defaced. The Returning Officer or her deputy will show any rejected votes to the candidate and/or agent. Following the Unitary Council declarations the Neighbourhood Planning Referendums votes will be counted. The Parish and Town Council votes will be counted on Saturday 8 May.


A candidate and their election agent can make a request to the Returning Officer for a recount of the votes. But the Returning Officer may refuse the request if it is considered unreasonable.

The declaration of the result

Once the count (and any recount) is concluded the Returning Officer or her deputy will declare the result. The appointed candidate will then be announced.

More information

If you would like more information on the election count please contact the electoral service:

Need help?

Most issues can be resolved online, it's the quickest and most convenient way to get help.

Your feedback is important to us

Help us improve our service

Give feedback about your experience