Northern Ireland

Chief Electoral Officer denies vote counting was rushed

The Chief Electoral Officer Douglas Bain has defended the changes he made to speed up the process of counting votes during the General Election.

He was questioned on the process as he gave evidence in a legal challenge to the result in Fermanagh/South Tyrone.

The unionist unity candidate Rodney Connor took the court case after he lost to Sinn Fein's Michelle Gildernew by four votes in May.

Mr Bain denied vote counting had been carried out in a rush.

The chief electoral officer told the election court in Dungannon that ballot papers had been counted effectively and efficiently but, above all, accurately.

He also defended his decision not to allow a fourth recount in Fermanagh/South Tyrone.

He said it would have been unreasonable because Michelle Gildernew had received more votes than Rodney Connor on the three previous recounts.

The election on 6 May was the first in Northern Ireland where vote counting began as soon as polls closed.

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