Elections: Information and Communications Technology

Justice written question – answered on 18th March 2008.

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Photo of Eric Pickles Eric Pickles Shadow Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice if he will bring forward proposals to introduce a right for candidates to request a manual recount of ballot papers in elections where electronic counting equipment is used.

Photo of Bridget Prentice Bridget Prentice Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Ministry of Justice

The current rules for local, Greater London Assembly and parliamentary elections specify (whether e-counting is used or not) that a candidate may require the returning officer to have the votes re-counted but that the returning officer may refuse to do so if in his opinion the request is unreasonable. At the GLA elections in May 2008, where e-counting equipment is to be used, the returning officer has been given the discretion to determine the extent to which any re-count involves manual or electronic counting. I have no plans to bring forward any specific proposals in regard to e-counting at this time but I will keep the issue under review.

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