A new electronic ballot counting system is expected to help Scottish local authorities announce election results in a fraction of the current time.
Yesterday, the Scottish Government announced that it had selected supplier CGI to deliver services, software and technical infrastructure for the new system in a £6.5m contract.
The system is expected to be introduced in time for the 2017 local government elections, which will result in the election of 1,200 councillors in 353 wards across Scotland’s 32 councils.
Mary Pitcaithly, convener of the Electoral Management Board for Scotland, said: “Over the past year, senior members of the electoral community have worked closely with the civil servants to develop an e-counting system specification, which builds on the successful experience of 2012 and will ensure the delivery of an accurate and transparent count”.
Currently, Scotland’s single transferable vote system means that manual counting of ballot papers can take up to four days.
Scanning of the papers using the new e-counting system will reduce that to a matter of hours, CGI claims. In addition, it will allow better accuracy and allow easier auditing, it said. The system will be tested during the next 12 months.
Maggie Morrison, director of public sector for CGI’s operations in Scotland, said: “Together, our very best teams will work closely with local authority partners to undertake a huge amount of planning, testing and training ahead of the crunch election period.”
The contract win follows the announcement that City of Edinburgh had signed a £186m ICT contract with the supplier.