August 02, 2007 | Becky Hogge

ORG welcomes Electoral Commission recommendation to halt pilots

The Electoral Commission released its official evaluation of the 3 May electoral pilots in England this morning. Among their key recommendations, they advise that:

"no further piloting should take place in the absence of a robust, publicly available strategy that has been subject to extensive consultation."

We're pleased that the Commission has recognised the desperate need for public debate about the role technology might play in our electoral system. We're also satisfied that the detail of the Commission's reports on pilots in Bedford, Rushmoor, Sheffield, Shrewsbury, South Bucks, Stratford and Swindon confirm the experiences of our own election monitoring teams. But we're disappointed that the fundamental challenges in using computers for elections have not been fully recognised by the report.

The Commission has produced detailed reports of each pilot area, as well as technical reports, and summary recommendation reports. You can download all of them from the Electoral Commission website. The Ministry of Justice will now respond to these reports and recommendations, although no timescale for this response has been set.

The Open Rights Group will be touring the Liberal Democrat, Labour and Conservative party conferences in the Autumn, when Jason Kitcat, ORG's e-voting campaign coordinator, will be joined onstage by front bench MPs and representatives from the Electoral Commission, to debate the question "Should we trust electronic elections?". Jason will also be appearing at the Green Party conference, and we are currently trying to secure an event at the Scottish National Party Conference too. But we need your help. Please help us get as many of your elected representatives involved in this debate, by writing personally to invite each of them along. We've provided guidelines on how to do this.

Comments (4)

  1. Light Blue Touchpaper » Electoral Commission releases e-voting and e-counting reports:
    Aug 02, 2007 at 01:00 PM

    [...] The Open Rights Group have in general welcomed the Electoral Commission’s report, but feel that the inherent problems resulting from the use of computers in elections have not been fully addressed. The results of the report have also been covered by the media, such as the BBC: “Halt e-voting, says election body” and The Guardian: “Electronic voting not safe, warns election watchdog”. [...]

  2. The Open Rights Group : Blog Archive » Gordon Brown at the NCVO: e-Voting off the agenda?:
    Sep 03, 2007 at 05:41 PM

    [...] The Governance of Britain green paper produced by the Ministry of Justice before Parliament’s Summer recess mentions remote electronic voting specifically (see para 150). Are the Electoral Commission recent recommendations (not to mention the observations of ORG’s volunteer electoral monitoring team) persuading Government to reconsider? [...]

  3. The Open Rights Group : Blog Archive » Open Rights Group dismayed by Ministry of Justice response on e-voting:
    Nov 13, 2007 at 11:50 AM

    [...] Electoral Commission’s report made a great deal of sense, in that it made clear their desire to see “a robust, publicly available strategy that has [...]

  4. The Open Rights Group : Blog Archive » Devote Your Day to Democracy #2: London elections:
    Jan 22, 2008 at 12:00 PM

    [...] e-counting in British elections, questions which were echoed in the Houses of Parliament and by the Electoral Commission. To read more about e-voting in the UK and across the world, download our briefing [...]