Turnout oddity: The 2003 figures don’t add up

With build-up to the 2007 pilots in full sway, I've been looking over details from the 2003 pilots. A few days ago, when fixing a link, a small error in an Electoral Commission table briefly caught my eye. I assumed I had copied it down wrong and went on to something else.

But when someone asked me to send them a link to my 2003 turnout analysis I checked the table again. I had copied the table correctly, one number had been calculated incorrectly. So I checked a few more… only to find that the change in turnout had been calculated incorrectly for 4 of the remote e-voting pilots and 1 of the kiosk pilots. The errors had, overall, made the drop in turnout appear smaller than it was.

Being the curious sort I then tried to find some source figures for the turnout figures used, just to check these were correct. The best source I could find were the Electoral Commission's local authority-specific pilot reports. And what can I say… 12 out of 13 remote pilots had figures which were either slightly or very different. Ipswich was the worst change with the change in turnout going from -0.3% to -7.01% with the new figures. Some changes are due to rounding of some numbers, but not something like Ipswich.

Overall, for remote e-voting pilots, the new figures resulted in a 23.9% fall in the average turnout from -0.71% using the published changes to -0.88%.

See all the figures and more in my updated 2003 turnout analysis