London picks new tech for election vote counting

Local authority opts for software from Smartmatic

Credit: PA

The Greater London Authority has chosen technology from specialist Smartmatic to count votes in the city’s next mayoral election.

Between now and polling day – on 7 May 2020 – the election technology company will work alongside outsourcing giant CGI to develop and deliver the necessary software, hardware infrastructure, and services. On the day of the election, the “e-counting solution” created by the two firms will be used to electronically tally votes cast in the mayoral race, as well as votes in the contest for the 14 constituency-based and 11 citywide seats that make up the London Assembly.

Both postal and in-person votes will be counted at three locations: Alexandra Palace; the ExCeL Centre; and Olympia.

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Smartmatic, whose global headquarters is in London’s Baker Street, claimed the technology “will ensure ballot papers are scanned and processed quickly and accurately, with full auditability of results”.

Mary Harpley, Greater London returning officer at the Greater London Authority, said: “Having worked closely with Transport for London and representatives from the London Boroughs to ensure a robust and transparent selection process, the GLA team is looking forward to working with CGI, Smartmatic and partners to deliver an effective and accurate e-count.”

In the last two elections, vote-counting technology was provided by IntElect – a joint venture between DRS Data Services and ERS Group. However, in 2016 the announcement of results was delayed by several hours following a “coding issue” that affected a database, and resulted in staff having to manually examine results in a spreadsheet.

Sam Trendall

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