POLLING stations for local elections closed across Mid Devon, like the rest of the UK, at 10pm.
At 10.15pm the first ballot boxes from Polling Stations across the district arrived at the central count hall at the Lords Meadow Leisure Centre in Crediton.
Thereafter, a string of vehicles delivering more boxes arrived from across the district, including Tiverton, Cullompton and villages across Mid Devon, as far away as Hemyock, Uffculme and Wembworthy.
The sealed boxes contained the votes cast in each ward and were accompanied by any hand delivered postal votes.
Once the boxes are checked the count staff began counting the ballot papers, comparing the number of ballot papers against the number recorded at the polling station.
More than 100 members of staff were seated at tables around the sports hall at the leisure centre for this verification process.
The team expects the verification process to end in the early hours of Friday.
With 42 district councillor roles and 10 parishes up for election, the process is lengthy and exhausting.
However, like many councils, Mid Devon District Council does not count the votes during the night.
This will take place from 10am on Friday.
In many wards in Mid Devon voters were asked to not only vote for a certain number of candidates to fill their district council vacancy or vacancies, they were also required to vote for town or parish council representatives.
The process to separate the papers was running like a well-oiled machine at Crediton, all under the direction of Mid Devon District Council’s Returning Officer Jill May.
Jill has played a critical part in local democracy across the district for many years and will retire after this election.
She is being assisted by Mid Devon District Council Chief Executive Stephen Walford, who will become the new Returning Officer for Mid Devon.
Candidates from all of the leading parties were there for the Verification process, watching every stage of the process from the emptying of boxes to sorting.
There were very few complaints about the requirement for Photo ID at polling stations in Mid Devon.
One woman at one Crediton polling station had forgotten to take her ID. She was not to be outdone and went home to collect her bus pass, returning then to vote.
It is believed that there will have been a significant increase in postal votes because of this new requirement.
Voters now have to wait until after 10am on Friday for the first series of votes to be announced.
As they are, check out the Crediton Courier website or our Facebook and Twitter sites for up-to-the-minute results.