Headlines: October 19th, 1999

Electronic counting equipment will be used for the first time in next year’ selections for a Mayor and Assembly in London.Minister for London Keith Hill has announced that in those elections, ballot papers will be scanned electronically, using equipment from a Milton Keynes company, DRS Data & Research Services.

One of the reasons for choosing these elections for the first electronic count is that a manual count of the new process was expected to take up to three days. With the new equipment, the result will be known by the following day.

Both elections involve a complex proportional representation-type vote, where voters indicate a first and second choice for Mayor, and have a person and a party vote for the Assembly.

Tests have already been carried out to ensure accuracy, and a major trial will take place in the new year, involving a mock election in one of the London Boroughs.

The election for the Mayor and Assembly for London is on May 4, 2000.