Blogging from the Highlands of Scotland
'From fanaticism to barbarism is only one step' - Diderot

Saturday 7 April 2007

Errors in electronic vote counting equipment jeopardise credibility of Scottish election voting

Electronic vote counting equipment has shown "a 4 per cent discrepancy between the number of ballot papers fed into the machine and the number of votes counted" during tests in the Cairngorms National Park.

Such a level of inaccuracy could prove extremely damaging to the credibility of results declared in marginal seats such as Inverness East, Nairn and Lochaber constituency where the winning candidate at the last Scottish Parliament elections in 2003 had a majority of only 1,046.

The necessity for some form of automated vote counting has been increased since the introduction both of the Scottish Parliament 'list' votes some years ago and the proportional representation being introduced into local election voting this time around, but if such equipment is unable to give an accurate result then it is too dangerous to rely on it without manual checking - which would seem to defeat the whole point; having assisted myself (as an observer) at a number of vote counting sessions before I realise what a time-consuming and labour-intensive operation manual counting can be, specially where results are close and a recount is called for.

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