COUNTING is underway for the Dorset Council election with results expected to be announced later today.

Rolling results for the Dorset Council election where 82 seats are being contested will start to become public from mid-afternoon today (Friday), with the complete results expected by 7pm, barring any recounts.

For those waiting for town and parish results, they will become available from around mid-day on Saturday, the same day that the result for the contest to become Dorset Police and Crime Commissioner is announced.

The majority of vote counting is taking place at Weymouth’s Redlands Sports Centre with the counting halls not open to the general public, although candidates and their agents are able to check that the process is being carried out accurately and fairly.

The team of officials will be counting the papers in two halls, firstly verifying and then separating the voting papers, before the process of counting begins around lunchtime.

The entire process is overseen by Dorset Council’s chief executive Matt Prosser, assisted by three deputy returning officers.

Papers for the Police and Crime Commissioner election, once verified, will be transported from Redlands for Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council to carry out the counting process.

Each election sees a number of rejected ballot papers, usually shown to candidates or their agents for their agreement. Reasons for rejecting a paper include having no official mark, voting for more candidates than entitled to, having writing or a mark which could identify the voter and being unmarked.

With 252,146 entitled to vote in person on Thursday those at each day’s count (Friday and Saturday) might expect to have to deal with around 85,000 voting papers, given an average turnout, although it could be much more, or much less.

For the Dorset Council election, 264 candidates have stood for election to 82 seats in 52 wards, with some wards having two or three seats.

The political make-up of the council, prior to the election, was Conservative 43, Lib Dem 27, Green 5, Labour 2, Independent for Dorset 4, other Independent 1. All of the seats are being contested.

For the town and parish elections, many results have already been declared because there were not enough candidates to cause an election – including at Lyme Regis, Beaminster, Blandford and, for the first time in living memory in two wards in Dorchester, where seven

Liberal Democrats on the 20-seat council are already guaranteed a place.

For those councils short of candidates they are able to fill the vacancies by co-option.

In some councils, the positions are advertised locally and people are asked to make nominations: in others, those councillors already elected decide amongst themselves, by democratic vote, who to invite to join them.

Town and parish election results should be completed and made public by late afternoon on Saturday, with the PCC result expected by the same time.