The IFA election count in two weeks’ time is likely to run into a second day. “We will start to count ballots on Tuesday 12 December, and will continue until all ballots have been counted. That could well be on the following day,” the IFA’s national returning officer Brian Rushe confirmed to the Irish Farmers Journal.

As of Wednesday 29 November, over 15,000 postal ballots had been received, Rushe confirmed.

Votes will be accepted up until Monday 11 December.

While the vote is expected to be higher than the 22,898 votes cast in 2019, the new voting system is what will slow the count down.

It is the first time the IFA has used postal votes alongside the traditional branch vote. Every vote has a unique barcode, which is the verification method. When envelopes are opened at the count centre in the Castleknock Hotel, every vote in the two national elections will have to have its barcode scanned before votes are counted.

“No vote will be counted until the morning of 12 December, with full transparency for the candidates, the wider membership and the general public. It’s a new system, and we are asking for a little patience to handle what is proving a high volume of votes from Ireland’s farmers,” Rushe concluded.