HC Deb 29 February 2000 vol 345 cc194-5W
Mr. Cohen

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what is the purpose of the computer bar code which is to be on the ballot papers for the Greater London Authority elections; and what safeguards relate to them. [111581]

Mr. Hill

It is proposed that the ballot papers for the Greater London Authority elections on 4 May 2000 should be counted by electronic scanning equipment. The unique bar code which will appear on each ballot paper enables the electronic scanning equipment to identify each ballot paper as having been properly issued. Ballot papers without a proper bar code will not be counted. The bar code does not contain any information about the voter, but puts the number normally present on a traditional ballot paper in a form which can be read by the scanning equipment. The computer system supporting the scanning equipment has a number of security features which prevent unauthorised access.