Sources who were in the counting hall where the new electronic vote counting system was being tested yesterday expressed serious concerns over the way the system had been modified between the first and second mock test. It transpires that the company responsible for operating the system had made amendments to it without informing the Electoral Commission or the political parties’ delegates. Such changes made without their consent could be potentially dangerous, sources claim. During the first mock test of the new system in November, a number of concerns had been flagged, especially on the number of ballot sheets that the system failed to recognise and were subsequently passed on to a human adjudicator. This amounted to approximately 40 per cent of the votes.
In the second mock test, held yesterday at the Naxxar counting hall, the number of ballot sheets not recognised by the system was substantially less, nearly half the original amount. Sources claim that such a steep decline in the number of votes not being recognised was due to the changes made by the contractor.
If the scanners, which are being kept in the new strong room, are capable of being modified and tampered with without the knowledge of the Electoral Commission there is a serious problem, sources told this newspaper yesterday.
Furthermore, the first mock test cannot be compared to yesterday’s second test as the system did not scan like with like.
The new electronic vote counting system will be used in the upcoming MEP and local council elections in May.