Votes are counted once voting is completed, as follows: 

The president must take the envelopes out of the ballot box one by one and read aloud the name of the list voted. In addition, the chair must show each paper read to the members, observers and agents. 

Once the count has been completed, the total number of envelopes is compared with the total number of voters recorded in the numbered list of voters. 

In the event of possible doubts and/or protests that may arise, these must be resolved by a majority vote. 

If there is no doubt or protest, the chair must announce the result out loud, specifying the number of registered voters, the census certificates provided, the number of spoilt votes, the number of blank votes and the number of votes obtained by each candidature. 

Subsequently, the committee must make the results public through the minutes of the count and hang a copy on the door of the polling place.


Yes. The count is public. Anyone, whether a voter or not, can witness the vote count by any committee. 

However, the president will order the immediate expulsion of those who disturb or hinder the count from being carried out.


Only the notaries, in the exercise of their functions, the candidates and the representatives of the lists, if they have doubts about the content of a ballot paper read by the chair of the polling station committee can ask to examine it. 

The members of the committee and the observers do not need to request this examination, because the chair must show them each ballot paper after reading it.


Any voter who observes any irregularity can declare it when the count concludes and their protest or claim must be recorded in the minutes of the session.

The ballot papers taken out of the ballot boxes must be destroyed, in the presence of those in attendance, immediately after the count has finished, with the exception of ballot papers that have been declared invalid and those that have been subject to a claim. 

These ballot papers are kept with the minutes of the session for future claims and appeals.

A vote is considered blank when: 

  • The envelope does not contain a ballot paper and
  • The vote was cast for a legally withdrawn list. 

Blank votes are not considered for the distribution of seats, but they are part of the valid votes, which is why they influence the percentage of votes obtained for each list.

Votes are considered spoilt when: 

  • They are cast in an envelope or on a ballot paper other than the official one.
  • The ballot papers are cast in the ballot box without an envelope,
  • The envelope that contains more than one ballot paper of different candidacies (if the envelope contains several ballot papers of the same list, the vote is valid, but it counts as a single vote),
  • Ballot papers on which the name of candidates has been changed, added or crossed out, or the order has been changed,
  • The ballot papers on which any symbol or expression has been added, or there has been another alteration of a voluntary or intentional nature. 

In spite of this, the votes cast on ballot papers containing a sign, a cross or a spade next to one of the candidates will be counted as valid, as long as they are not sufficiently important or large as to deem that they have altered the ballot paper’s layout or has been pronounced in favour of any of the candidates or the political formation to which they belong. 

Spoilt votes are invalid votes and have no influence on the distribution of seats; they are only one more bit of the information that is part of the election results. They do not count for the purpose of establishing the election result.

A spoilt ballot paper is an invalid ballot; in other words, it is not counted for the purposes of deciding on the election result. By contrast, a blank ballot is a valid vote which makes it significant when determining the electoral threshold. 

The law states that when assigning seats, lists that have not obtained 3% of the valid votes cast in the constituency are excluded, which means that blank ballots are taken into account when determining the number of votes required to exceed this 3% threshold.

“Valid votes” are the sum of the votes in favour of candidates that have not been annulled due to a defect and the “blank votes”. 

“Spoiled ballots” are not counted as “valid votes”. 

Valid votes = blank votes + votes for lists / Total votes = valid votes + spoilt votes.

Abstention is the group of voters who are enrolled in the electoral roll and do not exercise their right to vote in elections.


The official count starts on 24 December at the provincial electoral commissions and may not extend beyond 27 December.  

The count for each constituency is carried out in a single session and publicly.