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Article 118

1. The evaluation of votes begins immediately after the completion of the counting of ballot papers. The First Counter of the Counting Team unfolds completely every ballot paper, evaluates it aloud, and acts in the following order:

a) he/she verifies whether the ballot paper has the same size, shape and colour as the ballot paper approved by the CEC; if not, he/she evaluates the vote as invalid;
b) he/she verifies whether the ballot paper carries the stamp of the VCC and the stamp of the VCC Chair; if not, he/she evaluates the vote as invalid;
c) he/she verifies whether there is any of the other reasons for declaring the vote invalid, as described in letters “c” to “ë” of article 117 of this Code; if one of these reasons exists, he/she evaluates the vote as invalid.

2. If none of the circumstances described in point 1 of this article applies, the First Counter of the Counting Team gives his/her evaluation and then proposes to the other members to evaluate which political party or candidate the vote has been cast for. The First Counter shall show the ballot papers to the members of the Counting Team, as well as make possible the reading of the ballot paper by the recording camera in accordance with point 4 of article 94 of this Code. If the members of the Counting Team and observers of the electoral subjects at the count agree with the First Counter’s evaluation, the ballot paper is categorised according to the evaluation and the First Counter proceeds with the next ballot paper. If any of the members of the Counting Team or any of the observers of electoral subjects does not agree with the First Counter’s evaluation, the latter places the contested ballot paper in a special place designated for contested ballot papers and proceeds with the next ballot paper.

3. In accordance with the evaluation described in point 1 of this article, the ballot papers are divided on the work table into specific and separate places in groupings of votes for each electoral subject, invalid votes and contested votes. In case of coalitions, the valid votes for each of the member parties of the coalition are grouped separately and near each-other, thus identifying the votes for each of the member parties of the coalition.

4. At the end of counting of the ballot papers for each ballot box, the Counting Team re-evaluates the contested ballot papers, in accordance with the third paragraph of point 2 of this article. If there are still contested ballot papers after the re-evaluation, the First Counter or each member calls the CEAZ for the evaluation of the contested votes of that box. The CEAZ makes immediately an evaluation of each of the contested ballot papers and takes a decision on it.
The result declared by the CEAZ is noted in the record book of CEAZ and is included in the respective table of results of the VC which is compiled by the Counting Team.

5. For each contested ballot paper, the First Counter of the Counting Team notes clearly on its reverse side the reasons for contesting it.
A special official record shall be kept for contested votes, in accordance with a form determined by a decision of the CEC, in which the total number of contested ballot papers for the respective VC is reflected. Upon the tabulation of the result, according to article 119 of this Code, the contested ballot papers and the respective official record shall be enclosed in the envelope marked as “CONTESTED BALLOTS”.

6. After the counting and evaluation of the votes, according to this article, the First Counter counts the votes for each electoral subject, for each box with ballot papers, starting according to the order of the subjects on the ballot paper. After each count, he/she makes the figure known to the Counting Team members and to observers of electoral subjects. If requested by any of the members of the Counting Team, the First Counter shall restart once again the counting of the votes for that electoral subject.
If there are still objections after this second count, the First Counter of the Counting Team or the objecting member informs the CEAZ by raising his/her hand.
Raise of the hand suspends any further action of the Counting Team until the CEAZ makes a decision. The CEAZ counts on the spot the votes for the electoral subject, which are subject to contestation, and orders the Counting Team to record the figure decided by it in the table of results for that Voting Centre.

7. The First Counter and the secretary of the Counting Team are responsible for implementing the obligations arising from the contestation of the ballot paper, according to this article. Failure to comply with this obligation is punishable by a fine according to article 171 of this Code.