[E-voting] E-voting/e-counting chaos in scotland

Louise Ferguson louise.ferguson at gmail.com
Mon May 14 09:45:31 IST 2007

On 04/05/07, Dr J Pelan <J.Pelan at gatsby.ucl.ac.uk> wrote:
> On Fri, 4 May 2007, Casey, Dermot (GE Money) wrote:
> > "The polls have been hit by major problems with seven counts suspended
> > and an unprecedented number of spoilt ballots papers recorded.There are
> > fears the national figure for spoilt ballots could exceed 100,000.
> Although there have been genuine technical problems which have caused
> delays, the spoiling issue at this stage appears to be entirely related to
> voter confusion - there are local and parliament elections running in
> parallel and they use different types of ballot.
> In 2006, the Arbuthnott Commission recommended that the two Scottish
> elections be run on different days precisely because voter confusion would
> occur. It appears their warnings were well founded.
> I would recommend waiting for the dust to settle before making any
> comments about the e-counting system per se. It should also be noted that
> the 2004 London elections using similar automated counting machines passed
> without any significant hitches and there were ~6m ballots counted there.

The e-counting in London suffered from significant problems in both 2000 and
2004. Some were plastered across the front page of the (London) Evening
Standard. This finally led the Electoral Commission to 'encourage' London
Elects to run specialist workshops in 2005 concerning the problems and how
to resolve them (which I attended). DRS was also the company involved in

This year, there are a variety of companies involved in e-counting in the
various pilot areas. The scale of the problems in Scotland has caused
Scotland to hit the headlines and has drawn most attention to Scotland/DRS,

We (Open Rights Group) shall next month be launching a report drawing
together evidence gathered from all our observers who attended polling
stations in pilot areas across the UK this year. Stay tuned!

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