Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to provide an observational examination of the recent Scottish elections, within which an e‐counting system was employed to manage the increased complexity of the Scottish electoral system for the first time. Design/methodology/approach – Observations of an ethnographic nature, supplemented by written documentation used for both training and public consumption during the Scottish election process. Findings – It was found that the voting system for the Scottish elections had not received sufficient review or testing prior to the election; further that the design choices imposed by the DRS software did not support the actions of its users efficiently enough, or justify confidence in the dependability of the system. Practical implications – That the deployment of e‐counting systems requires careful consideration; many of the issues raised in this paper are similar to those of the official Scottish Elections Review, to which our team provided input. Originality/value – The Scottish elections were the first to allow members of the public to register as election observers, accredited by the Electoral Commission. As such, the Scottish elections represented the first large‐scale opportunity to observe such processes for the academic community.
Transforming Government: People, Process and Policy – Emerald Publishing
Published: May 30, 2008
Keywords: Elections; Scotland; Computer software; Systems analysis