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Using technology to make vote counting more efficient

Most of the ballot papers in the general election to be held on 11 September will be counted electronically.

TietoEVRY

Electronic scanning of ballot papers is efficient, accurate, and requires less personnel than manual procedures.

'The electronic scanning system works really well. The vote counting centre is located in Oppland county municipality, where the electoral committees from the cooperating municipalities come to scan their ballot papers. Then we perform a control scan to make sure everything has been done properly.

Berit Johannessen, returning officer in Oppland county municipality.

EVRY is one of three suppliers of scanning systems selected to count ballot papers in Norwegian municipalities. The Norwegian Directorate of Elections is the contracting authority. The smallest municipalities still count their votes manually, but an increasing number of municipalities are choosing to have their votes counted electronically.

Provide equipment, guidance and support

The 2019 general election is the first to be planned and carried out by the Norwegian Directorate of Elections. Our solution for scanning ballot papers is based on the Directorate's software programme called 'EVA Skanning'. We have helped install the software and are supplying scanners from our business partner Canon Norge. We are also renting out scanners, servers and PCs for verification and task management procedures by municipalities and county municipalities who lack the necessary equipment.

Electoral officials represent a critical success factor in electronic counting of ballot papers, so we arrange courses and webinars and provide customer support. The training covers aspects such as security, roles, scanning and verification, initialising local systems, procedures and work processes in the counting centres, and practical exercises. The biggest scanning centres have requested on-site technical support during the actual counting process.

'Although the ballot papers are counted in the scanners, it's important that the municipalities possess the right expertise in electoral procedures to ensure that the election is conducted according to law. Cooperation between the municipalities and good training and support underway provide reassurance to electoral officials in the municipalities. The final phase of the work is also digitalised; the election result is imported directly into the municipalities' meeting minutes,' Johannessen explains.

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