The Malta Independent 26 June 2019, Wednesday

Nationalist Party wants manual scanning of votes to precede electronic counting

Giulia Magri Tuesday, 19 March 2019, 11:34 Last update: about 4 months ago

The Nationalist Party agrees with the E-counting system, but it would like to see the manual screening of votes before the counting is conducted manually, general secretary Clyde Puli said today.

"We wish to see a solid and transparent process which highlights the true results of what the voters wish for," Puli added. Votes should be checked manually for irregular marks before they are scanned electronically as an additional safeguard to the new vote counting system.

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This is not the first time the Nationalist Party raised its concerns about the E-counting system. Back in December Puli had spoken about the party's concerns after numerous faults were registered in the mock tests. Test runs on the new electronic counting system carried out last month, showed that at least 5% of dubious votes fed into the machines were not captured.

He said that it is important that the amendments which the Nationalist Party is suggesting will be taken up in Parliament in the coming days as the election is only two months away.

"We want there to be an amendment in the law to make sure that the voters' voice and transparency remains strong."

He said that there should be a form of a hybrid between the e-counting system and manual counting, therefore to check that all ballots have been counted properly.

Puli said the manual checks could be carried out throughout the night between Saturday and Sunday when ballot boxes are opened at the counting hall.

He added that the party was not expecting the proposed manual step to lengthen the process. He insisted that the electronic scanning of votes would probably still be able to start at 7am as was being prospected by the Electoral Commission.

The PN is also proposing amendments to the draft law, making it illegal for the parties to retain copies of scanned ballot sheets for a period of three months.

 


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