The Partit Nazzjonalista’s trust level in the new electronic vote counting system has “seriously decreased” after changes were made to the system by the company responsible for it without informing the Electoral Commission or the political party delegates. Speaking to this newsroom after a report published in The Malta Independent, PN Secretary Clyde Puli said that the PN had voted in favour of this system in parliament as it removes tension by reducing long waiting times; however after news of the non-consensual changes emerged following the system’s second mock test on Saturday, Puli said that their trust level in the system has “seriously decreased” and that they were “very concerned”. The PN demanded reassurances about what safeguards will be in place to ensure that no one can just change the system at will before they can re-affirm their status in favour of this system. The situation, Puli said, “is dangerous for democracy”.
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 on Saturday at the Naxxar counting hall, the number of ballot sheets not recognised by the system was substantially less, nearly half the original amount. Sources speaking to this newsroom claimed 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 after the mock test.
Furthermore, the first mock test cannot be compared to yesterday’s second test as the system did not scan like with like.