Lancashire prepares for its Referendum result
It has been a long day's journey into Referendum count night.
But the county’s polling stations have now closed and just after 10pm the Referendum entered its third phase.
After the fiercely contested campaign and the 15-hour voting day came the count, with officials gearing up for what could be a long, long night.
Late voters who arrived before 10pm and were still queueing outside any of the polling stations as 10pm fell were allowed in law to vote.
But then it was time to take down the temporary polling station signs and transfer the sealed ballot boxes, plus any postal votes delivered by hand, to the 14 Lancashire counting HQs, based in each borough and unitary council district.
In Lancashire a bumper turn out at the polls had been predicted.
The Preston count is at the city’s Guild Hall, South Ribble’s at the South Ribble Tennis and Fitness Centre, Chorley’s at the Town Hall and Ribble Valley’s at the Roefield Leisure Centre in Clitheroe and Wyre’s at the Marine Hall, Fleetwood.
Before counting proper begins the ballot papers have to be verified by counting the number of papers and unused or spoilt papers to ensure each polling station’s papers are accounted for.
The results will be announced in each district and will also be forwarded to the regional HQ at Manchester Town Hall where the final result for the North West will be announced by Sir Howard Bernstein, the Regional Counting Officer.
With Sefton’s count due to finish at Aintree racecourse at an estimated time of 6am, it could be a long wait for the regional result.
The national result is expected at breakfast time and will be announced by the Chief Counting Officer Jenny Watson, the Chair of the Electoral Commission.
• Results are expected as follows:
Blackpool: Blackpool Sports Centre - 4am
Blackburn: King George’s Hall - 4am
Burnley: St Peter’s Sports Hall - 3.30am
Chorley: Town Hall - 3am
Fylde: YMCA Mythop Rd, Lytham - 3am
Hyndburn: Town Hall, Accrington - 2.30am
Lancaster: Town Hall - 3.30am
Pendle: Pendle Leisure Centre - 3am
Preston: Guild Hall - 3.30am
Ribble Valley: Roefield Leisure Centre - 2.30am
Rossendale: Whitworth Civic Hall - 3.30am
South Ribble: South Ribble Tennis and Fitness Centre: Bamber Bridge - 4 am
West Lancashire: Burscough Fitness and Racquets Leisure Centre - 4am
Wyre: Marine Hall, Fleetwood - 3 am
• Any requests for recounts must be made at local count level and the decision lies with the Counting Officer.
The national referendum result will only be open to challenge by judicial review. The Electoral Commission has stated that: “The referendum rules do not allow for a national recount to be carried out in any circumstances.”