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Thread: FAQ Where and when does a recount take place?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2008

    FAQ Where and when does a recount take place?

    Some of you may remember the incident in Senadin, Miri in Apr 2011 for the Sarawak State General Elections.

    Michael Teo lost by 58 votes which was less than 4% of the total votes. He demanded a recount.

    The Returning Officer at the Main Tally Centre correctly refused a recount.
    To understand why, we need to refer to the Elections [Conduct of Elections] Regulations. Regulation 25 - (R25).

    A. Where and when does a recount take place?

    Where? A recount only takes place in the counting station specified in Form 12A of the Conduct of Elections Regulations. Usually it is the same place as the polling station.

    When? When the difference in results of the top 2 candidates are 4% or less of the total valid votes in that counting station.

    A preliminary count is recorded in Form 764 "Statement of Preliminary". If the difference in votes between the first two candidates is 4% or less of the total valid votes in that station, a recount can be requested by any counting agent present or by the presiding officer. Once the results are finalised, recorded on Form 14 "Statement of the Poll After Counting The Ballots", signed by the Presiding Officer and by those counting agents present who wish to sign, the results for that counting station is final and cannot be changed in the Main Tally Centre. The counted and spoilt ballot papers are sealed in an envelope and then in a sealed ballot box. The sealed ballot box containing the ballot papers (in the sealed envelope) cannot be opened until the official results as tabulated on Form 16 "Statement of the Poll after the official addition of votes" is announced. So the question of recount in the Main Tally Centre does not arise.

    But in Sabah & Sarawak, especially in the remote areas, occasionally, some ballot boxes may be transported to the Main Tally Centre for counting but this must be specified in Form 12A and informed to all the candidates. Even if there is a change to the venue of the counting station, a notice must be placed at polling station before polling starts. It cannot be changed after that. For postal votes, the counting station is often the Main Tally Center but for GE13, some postal votes were counted in another venue.

    B. Can a ballot box or ballot paper be brought in later than 5pm on normal polling day to the Main Tally Centre for a recount?

    No! If a ballot box is brought into the Main Tally Centre after 5pm on normal polling day, the ballot box and its contents shall be rejected. There can be no counting of the ballot papers in the ballot box.

    If the Main Tally Centre is specified to be the Postal Votes Counting Centre, ballots can be sent there for counting but only up to 5pm on normal polling day. (For GE13, it is 5pm on 5th May 2013.) The only ballot papers sent in sealed ballot boxes/sacks are those sent back by the overseas missions to EC Putrajaya through Wisma Putra. In any case, it must be before the close of polling at 5pm and not later!

    If it is not the Postal Voting Counting Centre specified in Form 12A, all ballot boxes sent to it are not accepted for counting at all.

    Postal Voting Regulations.
    Regulation 13. Receipt of covering envelope.
    The returning officer shall, immediately on receipt of envelope B before five o'clock in the afternoon of polling day, place it unopened in a postal voters' ballot box which has been locked and affixed with security tape in accordance with regulation 10.

    Conduct of Elections Regulations
    Regulation 23A. Place of counting of votes.

    (1) Subject to this regulation and subregulation 25B(4), votes by electors at any polling station shall be counted at the polling station where the electors voted, in accordance with the procedures set out in these Regulations.

    (2) The Election Commission may, if it considers it necessary or expedient in the circumstances of any case, by notice direct that the votes by electors at any or all the polling stations in a constituency be counted by the presiding officer of the polling station at such counting place or places as the Election Commission may specify.

    (3) The notice under subregulation (2) shall be as set out in Form 12A in the First Schedule, and the Election Commission shall—

    (a) at least three days before the commencement of the poll—

    (i) forward a copy of such notice to the State Elections Officer and the returning officer responsible for the polling station or polling stations to which it relates; and

    (ii) cause a copy of such notice to be given to each of the candidates or his election agent; and

    (b) at any time before the commencement of the poll, cause a copy of such notice to be posted in some conspicuous place outside the polling station or polling stations to which it relates. [Must give notice before start of polling.]

    C. When does a recount take place?

    Only when the difference in votes in the counting station is 4% or less based on the preliminary count in Form SPR 764. Once the results are finalized and recorded on Form 14 and signed by the Presiding Officer and any counting agent present who chose to do so, there can be no recount for that counting station, except through an election petition. There is no recounting of ballot boxes in the Main Tally Centre (except for the exceptions set out in the answer to Question A above).

    Conduct of Elections Regulations R25 (13) Where the difference between the number of votes by electors for the leading candidate and the number of votes by electors for the next leading candidate is four per centum or less of the total number of votes by electors, then upon the application of either any candidate or of his election agent or counting agent a recount shall be made once only before the presiding officer carry out the proceedings set out in subregulation (12):

    Provided that the recount shall not take into account rejected ballot papers and spoilt ballot papers.[Note: Only valid votes of all the candidates, not just the top two.]

    (14) The presiding officer may in his discretion order a recount to satisfy himself as to the correct result of the voting.

    A recount only involves the ballot papers in that polling station, not the whole constituency. So the issue of bringing in ballot boxes from outside does not arise.

    In a recount, we go back to R25 (6) to repeat the process. It only involves physically counting the ballots that was accepted earlier, not a review of whether a ballot is accepted or rejected. And is based on the nos recorded in Form 764 - penyata awal pengkiraan undi. Ballots which were considered valid previously, cannot now become invalid under a recount. Ballot papers that are rejected are not to be considered at all.

    (6) The presiding officer or the persons authorized by him shall then proceed to count the ballot papers according to the votes by electors for each candidate and shall endorse the word "rejected" on any ballot paper which he may reject as invalid.

    (7) The presiding officer shall reject as invalid the following ballot papers only, namely, any ballot paper—

    (a) which is not stamped or perforated with the official mark, or initialled by the presiding officer;

    (b) on which votes are given for more than one candidate;

    (c) on which anything is written or marked by which the voter can be identified;

    (d) which is unmarked or marked other than in the place or manner provided; or

    (e) which does not clearly indicate the intention of the voter:

    Provided that if a presiding officer is satisfied that such ballot paper was issued in a state which would render it invalid under this regulation owing to some act or omission by him or a person acting under his authority, and if the ballot paper is otherwise valid, the presiding officer shall not reject such ballot paper. [This is to cover for any mistakes by the clerk, as in "conveniently forgetting" to apply the stamp on the ballot paper.]

    ( Notwithstanding paragraph (7)(d), where the presiding officer is satisfied that any mark made on a ballot paper clearly indicates the intention of the voter and the candidate for whom he has given his vote, the presiding officer shall not reject the ballot paper on the ground solely that it has not been marked in all respects in accordance with the directions given for the guidance of voters under these Regulations.

    (9) Before rejecting a ballot paper the presiding officer shall show it to each candidate, his election agent or counting agent, if present, and consider his views thereon.

    (10) The decision of the presiding officer, whether or not any ballot paper shall be rejected, shall be final.

    [The KTM is bound by the provisions of the Election Offences Act EOA Section 4 (e) & (f):
    (e) wilfully rejects or refuses to count any ballot paperwhich he knows or has reasonable cause to believe is validlycast for any candidate in accordance with the provisions ofsuch written law;

    (f) wilfully counts any ballot paper as being cast for anycandidate, which he knows or has reasonable cause tobelieve was not validly cast for such candidate; or

    (g) is without reasonable cause guilty of any act or omissionin breach of his official duty,]

    (11)[Deleted by P.U.(A) 67/2004]

    (12) Subject to subregulation (13), the presiding officer shall, immediately after the completion of the counting of the votes—

    (a) announce to every candidate or his election agent or counting agent who is present the number of votes given to each candidate;

    (b) prepare a sufficient number of copies of the statement of the poll in Form 14 in the First Schedule, which shall be certified by the presiding officer and signed by each candidate or his election agent or counting agent who is present and who desires to sign the statement of the poll, as follows:

    (i) one copy, for the returning officer, shall be enclosed in a special envelope supplied for the purpose, affixed with a security tape which shall be signed by the presiding officer; and

    (ii) one copy shall be delivered to each of the candidates or his election agent or counting agent as attend;

    (c) inform the returning officer, by any means available to him, of the result of the counting of votes at his polling station.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    By Ex-KTM:
    In our Malaysian Election, I am just in the dark as to how the actual 'Counting of Votes' works. I am a retired government servant and when I was in service I had served as a 'Ketua Tempat Mengundi' (KTM) before. In the just held GE13 I had volunteered myself as a 'Counting Agent' (CA), In the election process I do know that polling starts at 8.00 am and ends 5.00 pm. When polling is closed, the KTM would have to certify the number of polling slips used ( this is the total number of votes that should be in the ballot box ) and would then sealed the box in front of the candidates' 'Polling Agents'. When sealed, the polling agents would put their seal or signature so that there would be no fraud involved. When done, usually the KTM together with Kerani's and polling agents would leave the room for a break. The room would be locked.

    After the break, KTM and kerani's would returned to the room to prepare for the counting of votes. Candidates' counting agents by then would also had reported for their duties. When all had been set, the counting agents would inspect the ballot box to see there was no tampering. The box then would be opened and the contents poured into an empty tray. The first counting was to determine the total numbers of votes that should be in the box. When the total number of votes tallied, one 'Kerani' would hold each slip of ballot paper up for the counting agents to see and to determine the vote goes to which candidate. The slip of ballot paper would then be placed in the correct tray of the candidate. This process would be done for each slip of ballot paper and putting the papers in the correct tray of the candidates. By this process spoiled votes (if any) would be placed in the tray for spoiled votes.

    Now comes the counting of votes received by each of the candidates. By this process the number of votes received by the candidates would be determined. If there is no dispute or recount (a recount is only given based on a certain percentage of the difference in votes), then the votes were tallied, i.e. the total of the winner's votes plus the loser's votes plus spoiled (if any) must be the total numbers of ballot papers.

    When all the counting agents were satisfied as to the outcome of the counting process, the KTM would fill in the results in 'Form 14' and a copy of the results would be given to each of the counting agents. The results as stated in form 14 was signed by the KTM (endorsed also by the counting agents) made it an authenticated and certified document of the results of the counting process in that particular room. A copy of the results (form 14) was given to each of the counting agents. The counting agents would then hand in their copies to the polling station chief of a particular school.

    The particular school as the polling station would have a few streams (saluran) and each of the stream carried the same election process. Say this particular school has five rooms for the election process then at the end of the day the polling station chief agent would have five authenticated certified results of the polling station.

    Now five streams means there were five KTM's. Each of the five KTM's has his own official results. The five KTM's would submitt (send) their official results to the PUSAT of the polling constituency. Now imagined there were ten schools used in a particular constituency. This means that there would be 10 x 5 = 50 KTM's i.e there would be 50 official results (50 form 14). These 50 official results would all be submitted (sent) to the 'Returning Officer' of the constituency. Once the returning officer received all these, all he had to do was to add up the total of the 50 official results plus the total of poster votes (if any). These poster votes surely would not come to 10's of thousands votes.

    Now the irony of it all, what I do not understand was "Why must there be a need to RECOUNT?" The results as submitted by the KTM's should stand as there were official results authenticated and signed by the KTM's concerned. The total of these official results when added together with the poster votes should have a difference of maybe 300/400 votes only. Surely posters votes for a particular constituency cannot be more then, say, 400 votes. AS THE RESULTS SUBMITTED BY THE KTM's WERE ALL OFFICIAL RESULTS, A RECOUNT THEREFORE SHOULD NOT BE ENTERTAINED.

    Moreover the copies of the results given to the Polling Agent (area agent chief) of the candidate were also official results as they were all signed by the KTM's. These UNOFFICIAL RESULTS therefore made it OFFICIAL as they were all AUTHENTICATED. Therefore I maintained that there cannot be a recount.

    And because of these recounts, you had BLACKOUTS, hantu votes coming in, bags and bags of votes were added. After the recount THE OFFICIAL RESULTS have indeed became RESULTS OF A SUSPICIOUS NATURE. As at 5.00 pm, on the 5th of May 2013, when the polling was closed the records of the elector rolls can be used to determine the number who have voted and those that have not voted. As such the number voted + number not voted + poster votes (if any) would be the total of constituents of the constituency. And from this can be deduced that number voted + poster votes (if any) is the only true TOTAL turn out.

    Therefore the final conclusion can only be the OFFICIAL RESULTS as submitted by the KTM's

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