BBC News: Election 2010 BBC News

Page last updated at 13:35 GMT, Friday, 26 March 2010
How to vote in a general election

After the polls close, the votes will be counted by special teams and the result declared - often early the following morning.

But, what actually happens to the ballot papers?

Clive Joynes, elections manager for the Isle of Wight, explains what happens to your ballot paper after you have posted it into a box

As well as being overseen by the returning officer - usually a senior council official, the count is also monitored by the candidates and party officials.

If the result is close, a candidate can request a recount, but the returning officer makes the final decision.

There cannot be a tie - if votes are level, the returning officer can decide the result by drawing lots or tossing a coin. But this has never happened yet in a general election.

If you want to know the results, keep an eye or ear across the TV or radio news or check internet news services, including the BBC's election site.

Download our PDF guide to voting in the election here .

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