by Leo King

Greater London Authority ticks box for electronic vote count system

Oct 11, 2009
GovernmentIT Strategy

The Greater London Authority, headed by Mayor Boris Johnson, plans to implement a £5.2 million electronic vote counting system for future mayoral elections.

According to a prior information notice, the GLA is looking for consultancy services to advise it on the procurement – and security and performance assessment – of e-voting technology, as well as for help with the rollout itself.

The deal will also cover the creation and distribution of ballot papers and boxes.

The GLA, which is based in City Hall near London’s Tower Bridge, may use the systems in the forthcoming 2012 mayoral elections. It is also considering the technology for any referendums that may be called, as well as for any by-elections that could take place in the next three years.

The system may also be used in European Parliament elections in 2014, dependent upon EU legislation.

The GLA expects to begin selecting suppliers in September next year. It will conduct the process through Transport for London, which has the e-procurement system used across the GLA.

But electronic vote counting remains a controversial topic. A report by the Electoral Commission in 2007 stated that limited testing and planning were to blame for problems with e-counting pilots in local elections that year.

The pilots saw the electronic count abandoned in favour of a manual count in three out of five test areas in England. In Scotland, problems with electronic counting led to severe delays and votes having to be recounted.