Cheshire East was singled out by the Electoral Commission to host a major international delegation of top election observers from a range of countries across the world.
The Electoral Commission was keen for the delegation to learn about Cheshire East Council's election processes and its preparations for the EU referendum on June 23.
The team of more than 40 delegates came from many countries, including Finland, Canada, Malta and Bangladesh.
The delegation visited Macclesfield Town Hall on the day before the referendum, receiving a presentation from Brian Reed and Diane Todd from the Council’s democratic services team on UK election practice and procedure as well as specific details of Cheshire East’s preparations for the referendum.
A presentation was also given on electoral fraud by recently retired police officer Peter Kidd.
The delegation was interested in the complexities of electoral arrangements, Cheshire East’s very large proportion of postal voters and its commitment to serving its widely-dispersed communities by ensuring that voters could vote locally.
Cheshire East Council Chief Executive Mike Suarez, who was the Counting Officer for the Borough’s referendum poll, said: “It as a tremendous honour and privilege to host such a distinguished international delegation to view our polling arrangements.
“A number of delegates took note of specific elements of Cheshire East's unique arrangements and will take these back to their own countries for consideration.”
On referendum day, delegates visited polling station, witnessing voting at first hand.
Jenny Watson, chair of the Electoral Commission, thanked the Council for the ‘warm welcome’ it extended to the international visitors.
She added: “It is clear from the feedback we have had that participants gained a huge amount from having the opportunity to see the process first hand and to speak directly to electoral services managers and colleagues about postal vote opening and wider preparations for polling day.
“This was a vital part of the programme and we couldn’t have done it without Cheshire East’s help.”