Electoral Administrators tell Government to explore electronic counting

The Association of Electoral Administrators (AEA) has called on the UK Government to undertake a “full examination of the benefits of and issues presented by electronic forms of counting” and to “consider suitability for use at other types of elections” in their post-election report published today.

The report, entitled It’s time for urgent and positive Government action makes 33 recommendations for improving the election administration process including a requirement for voters to provide their email address when applying to join the electoral register. The report also calls for the creation of a single Electoral Registration Act and for action to resolve the issue of duplicate voter registration applications.

election count
The AEA is calling on the Government to explore the pros and cons of electronic counting.

The AEA highlights that there were numerous incidents of overseas voters having an expectation to vote online in the 2017 UK General Election:

“There were many reported incidences at the UKPGE of overseas electors expecting to be able to vote online or have their ballot papers emailed to them, which caused lengthy and difficult conversations at pressurised times.”

Earlier this year, 57% of delegates at the AEA’s annual conference voted in support of introducing an online voting option in elections. The delegates’ vote was an expression of opinion, and was not a binding vote or AEA policy.

The AEA’s report additionally calls for an “electronic system for the delivery, receipt and return of the Writ at UK parliamentary elections.” One election administrator described the Writ as “archaic” and “unnecessary” stating that the margin for error is “too great with paper copies and tired staff.” A writ is a formal written order issued ordering the holding of an election. In the UK, when the Government wants to or is required to dissolve Parliament, a writ of election is drawn up for each constituency by the Clerk of the Crown in Chancery and then formally issued by the monarch.

The AEA’s report can be downloaded and read here.

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