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Full recounts in at least two constituencies - so how does it work?

In many constituencies, it has been nerve-wrackingly close.

ALMOST 24 HOURS after counting first began in this general election, counts are to resume in 20 centres across the country.

In many constituencies, it has been nerve-wrackingly close and already there have been calls for recounts in some areas.

In Clare, a full recount has been ordered, and will begin at 11am today, following a request from Michael McNamara of Labour. He suggested there may have been confusion between his surname and that of Fianna Fáil’s Michael McDonagh.

A full recount will also take place in Wexford tomorrow morning. Independent TD Mick Wallace took the third seat in this constituency in the early hours of this morning. With two seats left to fill, it looked like the fourth would to go Fine Gael’s Michael D’Arcy, leaving his party colleague Paul Kehoe and Sinn Féin’s Johnny Mythen with just 52 votes separating them for the final seat.

Just after 5.30am this morning, the presiding officer said Mythen had called for a full recount which will begin at 10am tomorrow.

A returning officer is due to adjudicate this morning on a request for a recount in Dublin South West after Independent Katherine Zappone took the last seat, ahead of Fine Gael’s Anne-Marie Dermody.

In Dublin South Central the returning officer will also adjudicate on a request for a full recount. The request was made by Fianna Fáil, with candidate Catherine Ardagh battling for the fourth and final seat with Anti Austerity Alliance/People Before Profit’s Bríd Smith.

And in Donegal, a recheck of votes for Sinn Féin candidates Gary Doherty, Pearse Doherty and Dessie Shiels has been granted.

So, how does it work?

Under electoral rules, a returning officer can decide at any time to re-examine or recount any or all of the ballot papers and amend results, even if they have already been announced.

Candidates can request a re-examination or recount of any particular count after it has been completed. This is most likely to happen when a final seat is filled, with just a few votes between the candidates battling for it.

A candidate or party can also, before a result is formally declared, ask for a full recount of all votes.

Once a recount is concluded, the only way a candidate can challenge it is by presenting an election petition to the High Court within 28 days of the result being declared.

With some big names still in tight races to hold onto their seats, we may see calls for a number of other recounts as the day goes on and the counts come in. It could be a long road yet.

Liveblog: Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil neck-and-neck as count continues>

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