Returning officer

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In various parliamentary systems, a returning officer is responsible for overseeing elections in one or more constituencies.

Australia[edit]

In Australia a returning officer is an employee of the Australian Electoral Commission or a State Electoral Commission who heads the local divisional office full-time, and oversees elections in their division, or an employee of a private firm which carries out elections and/or ballots in the private and/or public sectors, or anyone who carries out any election and/or ballot for any group or groups.

Canada[edit]

In Canada, at the federal level, the returning officer of an electoral district is appointed for a ten year term by the Chief Electoral Officer. The returning officer is responsible for handling the electoral process in the riding,[1] and updating the National Register of Electors with current information about voters in the electoral district to which they are appointed.[2] Before enactment of the Canada Elections Act in 2000, in the case of a tie between the two leading candidates in an election, the returning officer would cast the deciding vote.[3] Since 2000, a tie between two leading candidates automatically results in a by-election.[4]

The provinces and territories of Canada each have their own returning officers.

Germany[edit]

Germany has a Federal Returning Officer and a returning officer in each State.

Hong Kong[edit]

In Hong Kong, the returning officer is usually an administrative officer[5] of the government.[6]

Ireland[edit]

In the Republic of Ireland, the post of Returning Officer in Dublin and Cork is held by the City Sheriff, and in the other areas by the County Registrar of the area (a senior court official). For local elections the position is held by the administrative head of the local council. The returning officer for presidential elections and referendums is a senior official in the franchise section of the Department of the Environment.

Singapore[edit]

The Returning Officer in Singapore is in charge of overseeing the conduct of parliamentary (by-elections and general elections) and presidential elections.[7] The RO declares results for the parliamentary general elections and the presidential elections in the following manner:

For SMCs:

Parliamentary general election year. Results for the electoral division of name of seat. Name of first candidate, party of first candidate, number of votes. Name of following candidate,party of following candidate, number of votes. Rejected votes, number of rejected votes. Total votes cast, number of total votes. The local votes counted for the electoral division of seat name are conclusive of the results. Pursuant to Section 49, Subsection 7E, Paragraph A of the Parliamentary Elections Act, I declare name of winning candidate of the party name as the candidate elected for the electoral division of seat name.

For GRCs:

Parliamentary general election year. Results for the electoral division of name of seat. Name of candidates in party of first group, party of first group, number of votes. Name of following candidates in party of following group, party of following group, number of votes. Rejected votes, number of rejected votes. Total votes cast, number of total votes. The local votes counted for the electoral division of seat name are conclusive of the results. Pursuant to Section 49, Subsection 7E, Paragraph A of the Parliamentary Elections Act, I declare name of winning group of candidates of the party of group of candidates as the group of candidates elected for the electoral division of seat name.

For presidential elections:

Result for the presidential election year. Name of first candidate,number of votes. Name of following candidate, number of votes. Rejected votes, number of rejected votes. Total votes cast, number of total votes. The local votes counted are conclusive of the results. Pursuant to Section 32, Subsection 8D, Paragraph A of the Presidential Elections Act, I declare name of winning candidate as the candidate elected as the President of Singapore.

For SMCs with a walkover:

Parliamentary general election year. Announcement of result on nomination day, the electoral division of name of seat. Name of candidate, party of candidate, is the only candidate nominated for the electoral division of name of seat. Under Section 33 of the Parliamentary Elections Act, I declare name candidates of the party candidate as the candidates elected for the electoral division of seat name.


For GRCs with a walkover:

Parliamentary general election year. Announcement of result on nomination day, the electoral division of name of seat. Name of candidates in party of first group, party of first group, is the only group of candidates nominated for the electoral division of name of seat. Under Section 33 of the Parliamentary Elections Act, I declare name of winning group of candidates of the party of group of candidates as the group of candidates elected for the electoral division of seat name. [8]

Section 49, Subsection 7E, Paragraph A of the Parliamentary Elections Act [or Section 32, Subsection 8D, Paragraph A of the Presidential Elections Act], are stated, only if the total number of overseas electors lawfully entitled to vote at the election in that electoral division is less than the difference between the number of votes given to the two best-performing candidates or group of candidates.[9] In the event where the total of overseas voters is more than the difference between the number of votes given to the two best-performing candidates, the RO may declare the number of votes cast in Singapore for the candidates, and announce the date and premises for the counting of overseas votes, in accordance with Section 49, Subsection 7E, Paragraph B of the Parliamentary Elections Act [or Section 32, Subsection 8D, Paragraph B of the Presidential Elections Act].[9] The RO's duties also encompasses announcing the best-performing losing candidates as NCMP post-elections in the government gazette.[10]

List of Returning Officers[edit]

United Kingdom[edit]

General elections[edit]

In England and Wales the post of returning officer for general elections is an honorary one, held by the high sheriff of the county for a county constituency or the mayor or chairman of the local council for a borough constituency. If a constituency overlaps district and county borders, the returning officer is designated by the Secretary of State for Justice.

In practice, the task of conducting the election is delegated to an acting returning officer, who is usually a senior officer in the local authority (the only duties which can be reserved and undertaken by the returning officer are related to the receipt of the writ and the declaration of the result,[12] and only if written notice is given by the returning officer to the acting returning officer[13]). In an English or Welsh constituency where the returning officer is the chairman of the local council or borough council respectively, the Electoral Registration Officer is automatically the acting returning officer. In an English or Welsh constituency where the high sheriff or mayor is returning officer, the acting returning officer is designated by the Secretary of State for Justice.

In Scotland, there is no office of acting returning officer and the position of returning officer is not an honorary one. The returning officer for general elections is the same person who has been appointed returning officer for the election of councillors in the local authority in which the constituency is situated. If a constituency covers more than one local authority area, the Secretary of State for Justice designates which local authority returning officer will discharge the function.

In Northern Ireland, the Chief Electoral Officer acts as the returning officer.[14]

Returning officers normally announce the results after the count in the following manner:

I, name, the Acting Returning Officer for the name of seat, hereby give notice that the total number of votes given for each candidate at the election of date was as follows, list of candidates and the number of votes received. And that name of winning candidate(s) has been duly elected to name of democratic body for name of seat (or name of office).

Local elections[edit]

In England, every district council and unitary authority is required to appoint an officer of the council to be the Returning Officer for the election of councillors to their local authority. County councils must also appoint a Returning Officer for the election of councillors within the county.[15]

In Wales, every county borough council is required to appoint an officer of the council to be the Returning Officer for the election of councillors to the local authority and for the election of councillors for any communities within the principal area.[16]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "The Returning Officer". Elections Canada. 21 December 2006. Retrieved 2009-02-10. 
  2. ^ "Revision of the Lists of Electors". Elections Canada. Retrieved 2011-03-28. 
  3. ^ "Results, Addition and Recounts—What Happens After Canadians Vote on Federal Election Day" (Press release). Elections Canada. 5 June 1997. "If the two candidates still have the same number of votes after the recount, the returning officer casts the deciding vote." 
  4. ^ Canada Elections Act ( 2000, c. 9 ), Part 15, section 318
  5. ^ "Administrative Officer Grade". Civil Service Bureau, the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. Retrieved 7 May 2011. 
  6. ^ "Appointment of returning officers and assistant returning ofiicers". Electoral Affairs Commission, the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administration Region. Retrieved 7 May 2011. 
  7. ^ [1]
  8. ^ "Tanjong Pagar nomination". 
  9. ^ a b [2]
  10. ^ [3]
  11. ^ Ministry of Finance deputy secretary appointed as new returning officer
  12. ^ Representation of the People Act 1983, Section 28(2)
  13. ^ Representation of the People Act 1983, Section 28(3)
  14. ^ Northern Ireland Assembly and local government elections
  15. ^ Representation of the People Act 1983, Section 35(1)
  16. ^ Representation of the People Act 1983, Section 35(1A)

See also[edit]