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.