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Page last updated at 14:26 GMT, Sunday, 11 April 2010 15:26 UK

Council chief defends Oxfordshire Friday vote counts

A district council chief has defended his decision not to count votes in half of Oxfordshire's constituencies during the night of the general election.

Henley, Oxford West and Abingdon, and Wantage constituencies will hold their counts on the day after the vote.

David Buckle, chief executive of Vale of White Horse and South Oxfordshire District Councils, said one reason was the "complexity of postal votes".

He said a Friday count would reduce the possibility of fraud.

Mr Buckle said: "I made this decision some time back because we did an assessment looking at various options and concluded that counting on the following day was the best option.

My primary concern is to get it right
David Buckle, council chief

"It's for a whole variety of reasons, one being the complexity of having to process thousands of postal votes.

"Many of those postal votes come in before the day of the election and we can deal with them on an ongoing basis, but we will get hundreds handed in to us on the day of the election.

"It's a very complex process you have to go through to verify postal votes before you can actually count them.

"My duty in the law is to make sure I do the job properly.

"I'm the person who ends up in court if it's a close result and there's a couple of votes in it and one of the candidates isn't happy with the way I've conducted the count.

"So my primary concern is to get it right."

Votes in Oxfordshire's remaining six constituencies, Oxford East, Banbury and Witney, will be counted during the night.

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