Charles Fiterman's questions

New Democracy donald at
Fri Oct 2 08:20:37 PDT 1998

Dear Charles Fiterman,

     I sent your questions on UK elections to David Marsay. Below is his

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  ---------- Forwarded Letter -----------
Authenticated sender is <djmarsay at>
From: "David Marsay" <djmarsay at>
To: donald at (New Democracy)
Date: Fri, 2 Oct 1998 14:15:53 +0000
MIME-Version: 1.0
Subject: Re: Questions on UK elections
Reply-To: djmarsay at
Priority: normal

I guess you've had a response by now, so I'll be brief.

My answer is for England. Northern Ireland is different. I'm not sure
about Wales or Scotland.

> How automated are your systems? What do they look like?

We have one ballot paper per election. Using one election at a time.
The most I can recall is 3.

For general elections we put an X in the box against our chosen
candidate.  If multiple candidates are to be elected (e.g., a local
council) then we have a quota of Xs, 1 per 'slot'.

Papers are counted manually at a central point. For single-'slot'
elections they are put into piles. I do not know about multi-'slot'
elections, but as far as I know they have small electorates.

I think the polls close about 9. Counting takes about 2 to 12 hours.

There have been problems with very close elections and multiple
recounts, but I don't know what the record is.

People generally have confidence in this part of the system. You will
see that UK thinking on election counting is conditioned by the
technology used!
Sorry folks, but apparently I have to do this. :-(
The views expressed above are entirely those of the writer
and do not represent the views, policy or understanding of
any other person or official body.

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