Photos: Voters go high-tech at local elections

Photos: Voters go high-tech at local elections

Summary: Council aims to cut fraud and increase turnout using new technology...

TOPICS: Tech Industry

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  • Council aims to cut fraud and increase turnout using new technology...

    The government ditched the e-voting trials originally planned for this week's local council elections because of fears over security. But that hasn't stopped one borough trialling new technologies to encourage higher voter turnout, prevent fraud and generally make the process more convenient and easier to use for citizens.

    Here you can see one of the Shop 'n' Vote polling stations set up by Rushmoor Borough Council in Hampshire, in shopping centres in and around the army garrison in Aldershot.

    The polling stations were aimed at increasing voter turnout by giving citizens the option of voting while they did their shopping in the days leading up to the official ballot day on 4 May.

    Photo credit: Unisys/Rushmoor Borough Council

  • The system was developed by Election Systems & Software (ES&S) and Unisys and uses an electronic register, which contains details of all voters in Rushmoor.

    When a person votes at the Shop 'n' Vote polling station, he or she is automatically marked on the register and the appropriate ballot paper printed for the relevant ward. The completed ballot paper is then put into a secure ballot box, as normal.

    The system was introduced after low levels of voter turnout - just 30 to 35 per cent - at local elections in recent years. This year the new polling stations meant more than 1,250 citizens in Rushmoor cast their votes before the day of the election.

    Photo credit: Unisys/Rushmoor Borough Council

  • Rushmoor Borough Council also used new ballot-marking technology from ES&S and Unisys to provide privacy and accessibility to voters who are blind, vision-impaired, or have a disability or condition that would make it impossible for them to mark a ballot in the usual way.

    The voter inserts their ballot card into the terminal and then touches the screen to scroll through the options and make their selection. Blind voters or those with severely impaired vision can choose to listen to the choices through headphones instead. The selection is then automatically printed onto the ballot paper.

    Photo credit: Unisys/Rushmoor Borough Council

Topic: Tech Industry

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