Ballot tallies must be transmitted to higher levels in an open manner.
- The legal framework should provide, in clear and objective language, the procedures for transferring the certified copes, results of counting, ballot papers and other election materials from polling stations and other, lower levels of EMBs to intermediate and higher EMBs for consolidation and safekeeping.
- However much care has been taken at the voting and vote-counting stages, transmitting the results is a vital operation whose importance is often overlooked; it must therefore be effected in an open manner. Transmission from the electoral district to the regional authorities and the Central Electoral Commission – or other competent higher authorities – can be done by fax. In that case, the records will be scanned and the results can be displayed as and when they come in. Television can be used to broadcast these results but once again, too much transparency can be a dangerous thing if the public is not ready for this kind of piecemeal reporting. The fact is that the initial results usually come in from the towns and cities, which do not normally or necessarily vote in the same way as rural areas. It is important therefore to make it clear to the public that the final result may be quite different from, or even completely opposite to, the provisional one, without there having been any question of foul play.
- According to the Code of Good Practice in Electoral matters, the votes should preferably be counted at the polling station immediately after poll close, rather than in special counting centers (CDL-AD (2002)023rev, para. 45). This has the advantage of providing quick results for the polling station. Further, counting away from the polling station may raise security problems, since the transport of ballot boxes and accompanying documents is always a security risk.
- At the count observers should pay particular attention to the following points:...the security of the papers at all stages of the count; checking that there is no opportunity to falsify or substitute papers.
- [R]esults must be transmitted to the higher level in an open manner.
- There are two kinds of results: provisional results and final results (before all opportunities for appeal have been exhausted). The media, and indeed the entire nation, are always impatient to hear the initial provisional results. The speed with which these results are relayed will depend on the country’s communications system. The polling station’s results can be conveyed to the electoral district (for instance) by the presiding officer of the polling station, accompanied by two other members of the polling station staff representing opposing parties, in some cases under the supervision of the security forces, who will carry the records of the proceedings, the ballot box, etc.