BT blames sub-contractor for e-voting glitch

Telecoms giant BT has blamed a sub-contractor for glitches that disrupted online voting in St Albans and Sheffield during council...

Telecoms giant BT has blamed a sub-contractor for glitches that disrupted online voting in St Albans and Sheffield during council elections yesterday (1 May).

Electors turning up to polling stations were to be offered the opportunity to vote using touch screen computers, connected by BT to a central database. However, problems meant many had to resort to traditional ballot papers.

"Some computers installed by one of the contractors employed by BT to deliver technology and services to the local authorities, experienced faults," BT said.

Problems affected both the presiding officers' PCs, which were designed to check the electoral roll as voters entered the polling station, and some of the PCs in kiosks, which offered the opportunity to vote online.  

"BT engineers worked to rectify the problems as quickly as possible," the company said. However, it took until 5pm to get all PCs connected in St Albans, while in Sheffield some PCs were still not operational by mid-afternoon.

Despite the problems, Mike Lovelady, the council's returning officer, said multichannel voting, by internet, telephone and post, had boosted turnout.

Other councils taking part in the government's e-voting pilots were equally positive. Swindon Borough Council reported 11,000 people voting online this year, almost double last year's total.

Swindon voters were able to use digital TV, as well as telephone, internet and public access kiosks.

 

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