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Returning Officer

Returning Officer

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In various parliamentary systems, a returning officer is responsible for overseeing election
Election
An election is a formal decision-making process by which a population chooses an individual to hold public office. Elections have been the usual mechanism by which modern representative democracy operates since the 17th century. Elections may fill offices in the legislature, sometimes in the...

s in one or more constituencies.

Australia


In Australia
Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

 a returning officer is an employee of the Australian Electoral Commission
Australian Electoral Commission
The Australian Electoral Commission, or the AEC, is the federal government agency in charge of organising and supervising federal elections and referendums. State and local government elections are overseen by the Electoral Commission in each state and territory.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


In Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

, the returning officer of an electoral district
Electoral district (Canada)
An electoral district in Canada, also known as a constituency or a riding, is a geographical constituency upon which Canada's representative democracy is based...

 is appointed for a ten year term by the Chief Electoral Officer
Chief Electoral Officer (Canada)
The Chief Electoral Officer is the person responsible for overseeing elections in Canada.The position of Chief Electoral Officer was created in 1920 by the Dominion Elections Act. The Chief Electoral Officer is appointed by a resolution of the Canadian House of Commons...

. The returning officer is responsible for handling the electoral process in the riding, and updating the National Register of Electors
National Register of Electors
The National Register of Electors is a continuously-updated permanent database of eligible electors for federal elections in Canada maintained by Elections Canada...

 with current information about voters in the electoral district to which they are appointed. Before enactment of the Canada Elections Act
Canada Elections Act
Canada Elections Act is an Act of the Parliament of Canada respecting the election of members of parliament to the Canadian House of Commons, repealing other Acts relating to elections and making consequential amendments to other Acts....

 in 2000, in the case of a tie between the two leading candidates in an election, the returning officer would cast the deciding vote. Since 2000, a tie between two leading candidates automatically results in a by-election
By-election
A by-election is an election held to fill a political office that has become vacant between regularly scheduled elections....

.

The provinces and territories of Canada
Provinces and territories of Canada
The provinces and territories of Canada combine to make up the world's second-largest country by area. There are ten provinces and three territories...

 each have their own returning officers.

Germany


Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 has a Federal Returning Officer
Federal Returning Officer
In Germany, the Federal Returning Officer is the Returning Officer responsible for overseeing elections on the federal level. The Federal Returning Officer and his deputy are appointed indefinitely by the Federal Minister of the Interior; traditionally this position has been held by the President...

 and a returning officer in each State
States of Germany
Germany is made up of sixteen which are partly sovereign constituent states of the Federal Republic of Germany. Land literally translates as "country", and constitutionally speaking, they are constituent countries...

.

Hong Kong


In Hong Kong
Hong Kong
Hong Kong is one of two Special Administrative Regions of the People's Republic of China , the other being Macau. A city-state situated on China's south coast and enclosed by the Pearl River Delta and South China Sea, it is renowned for its expansive skyline and deep natural harbour...

, the returning officer is usually an administrative officer of the government
Government of Hong Kong
The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China, commonly the Hong Kong Government, is led by the Chief Executive as Head of the Government, who is also the head of the Hong Kong SAR...

.

Ireland


In the Republic of Ireland
Republic of Ireland
Ireland , described as the Republic of Ireland , is a sovereign state in Europe occupying approximately five-sixths of the island of the same name. Its capital is Dublin. Ireland, which had a population of 4.58 million in 2011, is a constitutional republic governed as a parliamentary democracy,...

, the post of Returning Officer in Dublin is held by the City Sheriff, and in other constituencies by the City or County Manager — the chief administrative officer of the local authority.

General elections


In England and Wales
England and Wales
England and Wales is a jurisdiction within the United Kingdom. It consists of England and Wales, two of the four countries of the United Kingdom...

 the post of returning officer for general elections
United Kingdom general elections overview
United Kingdom general elections overview, an overview of United Kingdom General Election results since 1922. This 1922 election was the first election in the new United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, after the creation of the Irish Free State removed Southern Ireland from the UK.-...

 is an honorary one, held by the high sheriff
High Sheriff
A high sheriff is, or was, a law enforcement officer in the United Kingdom, Canada and the United States.In England and Wales, the office is unpaid and partly ceremonial, appointed by the Crown through a warrant from the Privy Council. In Cornwall, the High Sheriff is appointed by the Duke of...

 of the county
County
A county is a jurisdiction of local government in certain modern nations. Historically in mainland Europe, the original French term, comté, and its equivalents in other languages denoted a jurisdiction under the sovereignty of a count A county is a jurisdiction of local government in certain...

 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, and only if written notice is given by the returning officer to the acting returning officer). 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
Electoral Registration Officer
In the United Kingdom, an Electoral Registration Officer is a person who has the statutory duty to compile and maintain the electoral roll...

 is automatically the acting returning officer. In an English or Welsh constituency where the high sheriff
High Sheriff
A high sheriff is, or was, a law enforcement officer in the United Kingdom, Canada and the United States.In England and Wales, the office is unpaid and partly ceremonial, appointed by the Crown through a warrant from the Privy Council. In Cornwall, the High Sheriff is appointed by the Duke of...

 or mayor is returning officer, the acting returning officer is designated by the Secretary of State for Justice.

In Scotland
Scotland
Scotland is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. Occupying the northern third of the island of Great Britain, it shares a border with England to the south and is bounded by the North Sea to the east, the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, and the North Channel and Irish Sea to the...

, 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
Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland is one of the four countries of the United Kingdom. Situated in the north-east of the island of Ireland, it shares a border with the Republic of Ireland to the south and west...

, the Chief Electoral Officer
Electoral Office for Northern Ireland
The Electoral Office for Northern Ireland is an independent, non-partisan body which assists the Chief Electoral Officer for Northern Ireland in running elections and compiling the electoral register....

 acts as the returning officer.

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 (as name of office).

Local elections


In England
England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

, 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.

In Wales
Wales
Wales is a country that is part of the United Kingdom and the island of Great Britain, bordered by England to its east and the Atlantic Ocean and Irish Sea to its west. It has a population of three million, and a total area of 20,779 km²...

, 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.

Singapore


The Returning Officer in Singapore is in charge of overseeing the conduct of parliamentary (by-elections and general elections) and presidential elections. 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
Group Representation Constituency
A Group Representation Constituency is a type of electoral division or constituency in Singapore, the Members of Parliament of which are voted into Parliament as a group...

:
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
Presidential elections in Singapore
Presidential elections in Singapore, in which the President of Singapore is directly elected by popular vote, were introduced through amendments to the Constitution of Singapore in 1991. Potential candidates for office have to fulfil stringent qualifications set out in the Constitution....

:
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
President of Singapore
The President of the Republic of Singapore is Singapore's head of state. In a Westminster parliamentary system, as which Singapore governs itself, the prime minister is the head of the government while the position of president is largely ceremonial. Before 1993, the President of Singapore was...

.


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. 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]. The RO's duties also encompasses announcing the best-performing losing candidates as NCMP
Non-Constituency Member of Parliament
Non-Constituency Members of Parliament are members of the opposition parties who are appointed as members of the Parliament of Singapore even though they had lost in the parliamentary election....

 post-elections in the government gazette.

List of Returning Officers

  • Ong Kok Min - GE1980
    Singaporean general election, 1980
    General elections were held in Singapore on 23 December 1980. The result was a victory for the People's Action Party, which won all 75 seats, the last of four consecutive elections in which they repeated the feat...

    , BE1981
    Singaporean by-election, 1981
    By election was held on 31 October 1981 while the nomination day was held on 21 October 1981 because the original MP of Anson constituency C. V. Devan Nair had been nominated as the third President of Singapore, succeeding Benjamin Henry Sheares who had died on 12 May 1981.-Historical...

    , GE1984
    Singaporean general election, 1984
    General elections were held in Singapore on 22 December 1984. The result was a victory for the People's Action Party, which won 77 of the 79 seats, marking the first time since 1963 that they had not won every seat...

    , GE1988
    Singaporean general election, 1988
    General elections were held in Singapore on 3 September 1988. The result was a victory for the People's Action Party, which won 80 of the 81 seats...

    , GE1991
    Singaporean general election, 1991
    General elections were held in Singapore on 31 August 1991. The result was a victory for the People's Action Party, which won 77 of the 81 seats...

    , BE1992
    Singaporean by-election, 1992
    -Background and historical significance:This was the first and only by election in a Group Representation Constituency held in Singapore on 19 December 1992 with the nomination day set at 9 December 1992...

  • Tan Boon Huat - GE1997, PE1999
    Singaporean presidential election, 1999
    The Singapore presidential election of 1999 was held to elect the President of Singapore to succeed the incumbent, Ong Teng Cheong, whose term was to end on August 31, 1999...

    , GE2001, PE2005, GE2006
  • Yam Ah Mee
    Yam Ah Mee
    Yam Ah Mee is a Singaporean civil servant and Chief Executive Director of the People's Association. He shot to fame after Singaporeans took to his monotone voice and expressionless demeanour, as the Returning Officer for the General Elections in 2011....

     - GE2011, PE2011
    Singaporean presidential election, 2011
    The Singapore presidential election of 2011 was the fourth Singapore Presidential Election, held on 27 August 2011. Nomination day for eligible candidates was held on 17 August 2011. Mr. S.R. Nathan, the previous President of Singapore, stepped down on 31 August 2011 when his term drew to a close...


See also

  • Election judge
    Election judge
    In the United States an election judge is an official responsible for the proper and orderly voting in local precincts. Depending on the state, election judges may be identified as members of a political party or non-partisan...

  • Chief Electoral Officer (Canada)
    Chief Electoral Officer (Canada)
    The Chief Electoral Officer is the person responsible for overseeing elections in Canada.The position of Chief Electoral Officer was created in 1920 by the Dominion Elections Act. The Chief Electoral Officer is appointed by a resolution of the Canadian House of Commons...

  • Chief Electoral Officer of Quebec
    Chief Electoral Officer of Quebec
    The Chief Electoral Officer of Quebec is the official responsible for the administration of the electoral and referendum system in Quebec, Canada....