Frustration as election computer says no

Frustration is growing at the Breckland election count today after technical problems with a new computerised system seriously delayed counting.Breckland is trialling a new scanning process which is supposed to speed up counting and make it more accurate.

Frustration is growing at the Breckland election count today after technical problems with a new computerised system seriously delayed counting.

Breckland is trialling a new scanning process which is supposed to speed up counting and make it more accurate.

But many ballot papers were rejected because perforations had been left on the papers at the polling stations so they then had to be manually checked.

Some candidates started slow handclapping as they were so frustrated at the hold ups.

Before the election there had been estimates that counting could take as little and three and a half hours.

But although counting started at 9am at the Thetford Leisure Centre it could be as late as 6pm before the final results are declared.

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Robin Goreham, Breckland Labour leader, said: “It is very poor that all these candidates have to sit here and suffer these delays.”

Conservative agent Ian Sherwood “it is extremely frustrating for everyone. This is a pilot and hopefully lessons will be learnt.”

Many candidates said it would have been much quicker if the traditional counting ballot by hand had been used.

Breckland chief executive Keith Davis sincerely apologised for the delay but said things could not be speeded up.

“We are doing more manual checks than we thought. It will take as long as it takes. We are looking for accuracy not speed.”

By midday only three of the 54 results had been declared.

The first councillor re-elected was deputy leader Bill Smith who saw off a strong challenge from Independent candidate and former Breckland employee Frank Burch.

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