Feeds

Scottish poll probe: e-counting gets 'hold off until safe' verdict

Not to blame, but not a fabulous idea

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

Investigators looking into the cock-up that was the May elections in Scotland have issued their final report. Looking at the media coverage, you'd be forgiven for thinking they'd given the whole thing a clean bill of health.

Headlines proclaim the report's conclusion that the electronic counting process was not to blame for the fiasco. The much-quoted line "The Review team did not find any evidence that the electronic count contributed to the number of rejected ballot papers" can be found in black and white in the report, but it isn't the full and complete picture.

Turn to page 11 of the report, and you'll see that the reviewers actually conclude that if we're going to have the Single Transferable Vote system, then we're probably stuck with electronic counting.

But the final recommendation is: "The report strongly recommends against introducing electronic voting for the 2011 elections, until the electronic counting problems from the 2007 elections are resolved."

The reviewers also note that "Electronic counting technology involves some operational risk", which is a world away from saying that electronic counting is a good thing.

The reviewers note that for people to have confidence in the vote count, the emphasis should be on the quality of decision-making, rather than the absolute speed with which a result could be returned. It suggests that in future there should be a back-up plan to count manually, and that all ballots flagged as doubtful by machines should be sent to a returning officer for a final decision.

In May this year, seven constituencies had to abandon the electronic counters, amid accusations of computer crashes and scanners failing to cope with folded ballot papers.

It later emerged that more than 140,000 ballots were declared spoiled. Some 70,000 of these were rejected by the counting machines with no human oversight, effectively disenfranchising almost two per cent of the voting public. First Minister Alex Salmond described the news as "astonishing", and deeply disturbing. ®

Intelligent flash storage arrays

More from The Register

next story
WHY did Sunday Mirror stoop to slurping selfies for smut sting?
Tabloid splashes, MP resigns - but there's a BIG copyright issue here
Spies, avert eyes! Tim Berners-Lee demands a UK digital bill of rights
Lobbies tetchy MPs 'to end indiscriminate online surveillance'
How the FLAC do I tell MP3s from lossless audio?
Can you hear the difference? Can anyone?
Inequality increasing? BOLLOCKS! You heard me: 'Screw the 1%'
There's morality and then there's economics ...
Google hits back at 'Dear Rupert' over search dominance claims
Choc Factory sniffs: 'We're not pirate-lovers - also, you publish The Sun'
EU to accuse Ireland of giving Apple an overly peachy tax deal – report
Probe expected to say single-digit rate was unlawful
While you queued for an iPhone 6, Apple's Cook sold shares worth $35m
Right before the stock took a 3.8% dive amid bent and broken mobe drama
prev story

Whitepapers

A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.