The petitioner and the person whose election is contested shall have the right to attend the examination of the witnesses appearing before the official of the court and to cross-examine the witnesses. Testimony shall be taken only on the points and facts specified in the court order. The official shall cause to be made a full and accurate bill of exceptions of all evidence and testimony adduced at the hearing and shall preside at such hearing as a judge in a court of equity. The official shall rule upon the admissibility of testimony and shall preserve and maintain on the part of all participants at the hearing judicial decorum and demeanor and shall have the powers of a judge to cite or punish for contempt. The official at the conclusion of the hearing shall make a written report and recommendations to the court which shall be considered by the court as a finding of a trial judge in equity.