WARWICKSHIRE COUNTY COUNCIL NEWS
Boxes Heading For The Bin?
An electronic voting
system could be used for county council elections in Warwickshire next
May at a cost of £250,000.
A handful of councils
used different systems at the local election in May this year, with
varying success in a bid to increase turnout and interest in local
People in Coventry
were able up to vote a week earlier than usual, giving them more
chance to use their right to vote. It was seen to have limited
Council took a different approach and threw away the ballot box, paper
and pen and installed computers at its polling stations.
It was supposed to
speed up the counting, but there were computer problems and results
were not announced much faster than previous counts.
Using a new system
for county elections would be a bigger affair with all 62 county seats
in Warwickshire up for grabs in May.
It could mean up to
500 terminals needed for the event.
Ballots are usually
counted in each of the five district council areas then sent to Shire
Hall where an overall picture is drawn up.
At the last county
elections, the voting took place the following days, as it coincided
with a general election, and votes were MPs were counted first.
Councils have been
warned that if a general election is called for the same day in May
2001 then the trial voting schemes will have to be abandoned.
are being asked if they want to have a go and using a trial scheme,
but they will have to foot the cost themselves – likely to double
the normal cost.
The options put to
using the present
(as Stratford did),
a combination of
electronic and postal voting.
A report from
officers suggests electronic voting should be considered but warns:
“The use of
electronic voting in Stratford did not increase turnout despite the
extensive publicity it received both locally and nationally.
“However, it was
widely accepted by those voters who did turnout, particularly the
older citizens, that it was simple and quick to use.
proved to be very secure and results were produced more quickly than
by using the manual system.”
The county council
cabinet meets this week to discuss the options. Any applications to
take part in trial schemes must be registered with the Home Office by