§ Lord Greaves
asked Her Majety's Government:
Which electoral pilots in each of the past four calandar years have involved e-counting in whole or in part; which such pilots involved a manual count of some or all of the ballot papers to check against the results of the e-counting technology; and what were the results of such checking. [HL2738]
§ The Minister of State, Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (Lord Rooker)
Electronic counting can take two forms. First, where votes have been cast electronically, e.g. through the Internet or telephone, they are counted electronically automatically. The second form is the electronic counting of ballot papers. The table lists those local authorities that have piloted this latter form of electronic counting since May 2000:
Year Name of Local Authority Comments 2000 Broxbourne Borough Council Three Rivers District Council 2001 No electoral pilots held 2002 Broxbourne Borough Council Chorley Borough Council Combined with all-postal voting Epping Forest District Council London Borough of Hackney Combined with all-postal voting Liverpool City Council Combined with e-voting Rugby Borough Council South Tyneside Metropolitan Borough Council Combined with all-postal voting City of Westminster 2003 Basingstoke & Deane Borough Council Combined with e-voting Broxbourne Borough Council Chester-le-Street District Council Combined with all-postal voting Chorley Borough Council Combined with all-postal voting and e-voting Derwentside District Council Combined with all-postal voting Epping Forest District Council Combined with e-voting Shrewsbury & Atcham Borough Council Combined with all-postal voting and e-voting
Year Name of Local Authority Comments South Oxfordshire District Council South Tyneside Metropolitan Borough Council Combined with all-postal voting and e-voting Wear Valley District Council Combined with all-postal voting 2004 Swindon Borough Council Combined with e-voting; Held at a by-election
The elections for the Greater London Assembly and London Mayor in 2000 also used e-counting of ballot papers, but this was permitted under the terms of the Greater London Authority Act 1999 and was not an electoral pilot.
There has been no manual checking of the e-counting results. However, there was a manual recount of the ballot papers at the Chester-le-Street, Derwentside and Wear Valley joint pilot in May 2003. This recount was requested after three recounts by the e-counting technology produced different results. It was subsequently identified that these discrepancies arose because the ballot papers that the e-counting systems had rejected as requiring adjudication had been adjudicated in a different manner each time they were checked.