Calls for recount in Brecks rejected

Breckland Council last night rejected calls to hold a full local elections recount amid fears that the flawed computerised counting system being used could have got it wrong.

Breckland Council last night rejected calls to hold a full local elections recount amid fears that the flawed computerised counting system being used could have got it wrong.

The count on Friday had to be called off after progress was reduced to a crawl by a glitch in the electronic scanners.

After nearly 11 hours, just 29 of the 54 seats had been declared.

The count will resume at Dereham today. But now both Labour and the Green Party are demanding a recount of all votes, including those in declared wards, because they feel that initial anomalies in results show that the system is unreliable.

At first, hundreds of votes were not included in the result for Dereham Humbletoft ward because they had not been scanned. And in Dereham Central, questions have been raised about an unlikely difference between the numbers of town and district votes.

At Warwick, which also had to postpone its local elections count because of similar problems, the council has decided to recount all votes that were tallied by the computerised system because of concerns about accuracy.

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But Breckland says it will not recount the votes in its declared wards as it has double-checked and recounted results in wards where there have been queries - such as Dereham Humbletoft.

Spokesman Mary Palmer said: “We will not be recounting the declared results but will be looking at the system with the Electoral Commission and the system suppliers, Indra, later in the week to evaluate how things went.”

She said the council's returning officer and chief executive, Keith Davis, was “quite satisfied with the way the count was done” for the declared wards.

“We do not think there are any grounds to go for a full recount,” she added.

But Tim Birt, election agent for Breckland Green Party, said he would make a formal request for a recount.

He added: “The Breckland local election electronic count degenerated into a fiasco on May 4, and we in the Breckland Green Party have no confidence in either the equipment or the system used to count votes electronically. In light of the known problems, I am requesting that all declared results are also recounted manually.”

The formal request for a recount was backed by John Cowan, agent for

Mid Norfolk Labour Party.

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