Electoral Pilot Statutory Orders now online

DCA have published the statutory orders for the May 2007 pilots on their website. These orders are the changes to law required to support the new technologies and processes that will be used.

I've only had a brief look so far but two sections caught my interest.

The order for South Bucks states:

43A. Voting procedure for internet voting

(10) The voter must not be able to access the internet voting facility for an election once his vote at that election has been cast.
(11) A voter voting using the internet must vote without undue delay and must exit the polling website after he has voted.

Extremely odd. I guess for (10) when they say 'access' they mean actually log in because as it reads now visiting the voting website again after having voted would be a breach. As for (11)… why put this in and how on earth would they enforce it?

Stratford will be using e-counting and have the following in their statutory order:

46 Re-count

(4) In so far as the votes have been counted using the electronic counting system, the returning officer may treat a request for a re-count as unreasonable unless he has reason to believe that the system has not scanned the votes correctly.

I find this mind boggling. Of course there's plenty of wiggle room – 'returning officer may treat a request for a re-count as unreasonable'. So he doesn't have to but the guidance is clear, unless there's good reason to believe a malfunction occurred then requests for re-counts can be disregarded. There should be mandatory sample re-counts at all times along with mandatory complete re-counts if the victory margin is slim. Will anybody be checking the paper ballots at these e-counting pilots?

I also have to say that it's extremely poor that there was no notification of these orders being published. They just appeared on the DCA website, nothing on their homepage or elections homepage (last latest news is dated 29th January). The Electoral Commission's site has nothing on these orders being published either. I only found out about them by talking to electoral administrators.

There's an elections community that should be kept informed of such things, how hard would it be for DCA or the Commission to email us? Furthermore as these documents are law for the period of the May elections, there's a responsibility to make them available to candidates, party agents and the general public. The sharing should be better folks.

All the statutory orders on the DCA site