2012 Mayor and London Assembly Elections
London Elects has announced today it has awarded an electronic counting contract to IntElect, a joint venture between DRS Data Services Limited (the subsidiary trading company of DRS Data & Research Services plc) and Electoral Reform Services Limited.
The contract is initially to supply electronic counting to the 2012 Mayor and London Assembly Elections. The contract will include an option to extend the term of the service through to the GLA elections in 2016. The combined cost of the e-counting service for both the 2012 and 2016 elections, and including a London site for testing, training and demonstrations in 2012, is approximately £6.8m, whereas the manual counting of votes in one GLA election alone would cost in the region (at 2012 prices) of £3.6m and, it is estimated would take approximately 4 days to complete.
Both companies have a track record of success in electronic counting and, together, they form the UK’s largest supplier of data capture solutions and election administration services. DRS have provided similar services for GLA elections in 2000 and 2004, and ERS have undertaken postal voting administration and electronic counting for a number of local authorities.
On 3 May 2012 up to five million Londoners will cast four votes on three different ballot papers, each of which uses a different electoral system. Preparations for the poll are already underway with the establishment of an independent elections team, London Elects, to support the Greater London Returning Officer in planning, communicating and delivering a fair and accurate election. There will be three sub-regional count centres, so that technical and electoral experience and knowledge is concentrated in just three locations.
Electronic counting, or ‘e-counting’, involves scanning ballot papers through machines that capture and store the votes on a secure database. As well as counting the ballots, the machines can handle multiple votes on one ballot paper and cope with different voting systems. Ballot papers where the voter’s intention is unclear are referred to the Returning Officer’s staff to be adjudicated.
Leo Boland, Greater London Returning Officer, said:
“We are looking forward to working with IntElect as our main IT supplier, and want to develop an ongoing partnership. That’s why the contract includes the option to extend for the 2016 elections. I am confident that, working together, we will ensure an accurate, fair and efficient election result on 4 May 2012.
“IntElect’s bid offered a thorough, detailed and well thought-through response to the technical solution requirements, backed up by evidence of experience. As well as its technical solution, the company has a clear and comprehensive approach to the Project, Risk, Security and Change Management requirements that are so important if we want complete confidence in the solution.”
The CEO of DRS, Tony Lee, commented:
“IntElect are delighted to have been selected to deliver the electronic counting of the 2012 Mayor and London Assembly Elections. We will be working closely with the Greater London Returning Officer and London Elects to ensure the benefits of this electoral modernisation technology are fully realised.”
On the project delivery, Sian Roberts, CEO of ERS commented:
“This project will make use of the full range of products and services that IntElect have to offer, bringing experienced team members and the very best in software, hardware and print technologies. IntElect are extremely keen to begin work on this mission critical project, delivering to the exacting standards that London demands.”