Municipal and county authorities throughout Norway have now completed their technical preparations and are ready for the elections to be held on 11 and 12 September. An extensive apparatus of IT systems, vote counting machines, technical equipment and election material is now in place at all the authorities across the country ready for the elections. This information comes from a review carried out by EDB ErgoGroup, which is a supplier of election systems for this year’s elections.
“Running the elections is a very big task for the country’s municipal and county authorities. As part of our deliveries, we have distributed around 3.1 million polling cards to eligible voters. Around 45 million ballot papers had been printed and distributed to local voting districts and party organisations”, explains Håvard Larsen, Head of the Solutions business area at EDB ErgoGroup.
In addition to deliveries from EDB ErgoGroup, a number of municipalities source some of their requirements through other channels. EDB ErgoGroup’s estimates indicate that the total number of polling cards distributed throughout Norway is in the order of 3.75 million, and that a total of as many as 60 million ballot papers are ready for use in the voting districts. EDB ErgoGroup has provided training for more than 1,500 election officials in municipalities throughout Norway.
… What is involved in holding the election in will?
“The practical preparations start several weeks before the election day. We place our order for polling cards and almost 1 million ballot papers with EDB ErgoGroup, as well as ordering the electoral roll reports and the address labels for the parties,” she explains.
Bærum municipality uses EDB ErgoGroup’s centralised election system for advance voting, results and election administration. “We first count the results for the party votes manually in the 27 polling stations, and we then scan the ballot papers to record the votes for individual candidates. We then prepare the results report for presentation to the Election Board, which is responsible for approving the election results”, explains Tone Halvorsen.
Is e-Voting the way forward?
“In my opinion, e-Voting is the way forward to improve participation in elections, which is currently running at around 60% for the municipal and county elections. If we want to encourage young people to vote, we have to use new technology”, says Tone Halvorsen, who goes on to add: “I do recognise that voting from home raises some issues such as family influence on voting, but voters are free to change their votes at any time until the polling stations close”. She also points out that e-Voting can hopefully help to reduce the cost of holding elections.