For them, it's all over, bar the shouting, and the count centre is where the shouting happens.

The shouting, the laughing, the crying, the ecstasy of victory, the emptiness of defeat.

The count centre is the arrowhead of the Democratic process and for those who treasure democracy, what happens at the centre can be a deeply emotional experience.

Remember that only 44% of nations on this planet, according to Freedom House, enjoy our level of free and open elections. So this is a day that should be celebrated, as much as endured.

At the centre of proceedings is the returning officer: the Queen or King of all they survey once the ballot boxes start to arrive. 

The returning officer has, to quote Gene Hackman in Crimson Tide, a simple job: "We're here to preserve democracy, not practice it."

And so it goes. The returning officer runs the show, and what a show it is!

A great scrum of politicians, supporters, advisers, tally people, media, and count centre staff. How do they all interact?

In our latest Podcast David McCullagh pulls back the curtain with Kildare returning officer Eithne Coughlan, former tally person Denise O'Flaherty, and RTÉ reporter Richie Beirne a count centre veteran.