§ Lady Hermon
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what plans he has to bring forward proposals to amend legislation to enable the piloting of electronic counting of votes in(a) local council, (b) Assembly and (c) Westminster elections in Northern Ireland; and if he will make a statement. 
§ Mr. Spellar
As I indicated in my reply of 15 December to the hon. Lady,Official Report, column 737W, the Government is interested in hearing views from interest parties on ensuring that election counts are as efficient and effective as possible. I am aware that the Chief Electoral Officer for Northern Ireland is looking at the issue of electronic counting.