Politicians inspect the e-counting system for council elections

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Politicians from all parties have inspected the e-counting system which will be used for Scotland's council elections in May.

The local government minister Derek Mackay said he expects "a reliable and accurate result."

It will be used to count votes from polling stations all over Scotland.

Using e-counting should mean the counts take place in hours when previously it could take two or three days to tally the votes for council elections.

Mr Mackay was joined at the demonstration by the Labour and Conservative spokeswomen for local government and planning, Sarah Boyack and Margaret Mitchell.

Rigorously tested

They attended a run-through alongside staff from Perth and Kinross Council who were being trained in how to operate the system.

Over the last 20 months, the system has undergone a testing programme including a large-scale bulk test last summer.

The system also complies with recommendations made by the Gould Report following 140,000 spoiled ballots at the 2007 Scottish election.

All council staff who will be using the machines, at Scotland's 31 counting centres, will have been through extensive training.

Viewing the e-count in operation, Local Government Minister Derek Mackay said: "It has been rigorously tested in mock-counts involving more than 250,000 ballots."

Chris George, a director of Logica, which is providing the system, said: "The key thing has been the close working relationship between Logica, the Scottish government and the returning officers to ensure everyone is happy with the way it operates and is confident in its use."

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