Guidance for Candidates and Agents at Greater London Authority elections

How the votes will be counted

Stage 1 - Check in

The Constituency Returning Officer’s (CRO’s) staff will deliver the ballot boxes from the polling station to the count venue.

Each polling station will have at least three ballot boxes, as separate ballot boxes are being used for each contest. 

The CRO’s staff check in the ballot boxes as they arrive at the count venue.

Stage 2 – Verification

At the verification stage, each ballot box is processed separately from any other ballot box. 

One by one, all ballot boxes are emptied onto tables and the empty boxes are shown to agents.

Staff count the number of ballot papers in each ballot box from each polling station.

Staff verify that the number of ballot papers in each ballot box matches the number of papers issued, as recorded on the Presiding Officers’ ballot paper accounts.

Any ballot paper found in the ‘wrong’ ballot box is still valid and will be moved to the correct box during verification.

During the verification stage the ballot papers are kept 'face up'.

In the event of any discrepancies between the numbers of ballot papers in the ballot box, against the paperwork completed by the Presiding Officer, the CRO establishes the reasons for any discrepancies and produces a final verified total.

The CRO produces a statement of the verification. Agents can view or copy this statement if they wish.

After the conclusion of the verification stage, the verified boxes will be stored securely until the commencement of the count on Saturday 4 May 2024. Candidates and agents can attach their seals to boxes if they wish.

Stage 3- Counting of the votes 

For each separate contest:

  • before the count can start, the CRO will mix all ballot papers from across the constituency
  • staff sort the ballot papers by candidate / party (for the London-wide Assembly member election) 
  • staff count the number of votes cast for each candidate / party (for the London-wide Assembly member election) 

Throughout the process the CRO will adjudicate on any doubtful ballot papers. Any ballot papers containing a valid vote will be returned to the relevant contest.

For each separate contest the CRO will share the provisional result with you and the agents. You or your election agent can ask the CRO to recount the votes.

The CRO can refuse to recount if they think the request is unreasonable

A London wide recount is not permitted. 

Last updated: 1 February 2024