Belfast Telegraph

Vote-counting software firm wins poll position

A Londonderry company has won a multi-million pound contract to provide electronic vote-counting services in local government elections in Scotland.

OPT2VOTE Ltd won the £5.2m contract in a partnership led by Logica, one of the UK's largest technology companies.

The software will be used to prepare ballot papers for printing and to enable the electronic counting of completed ballot papers while Logica will provide implementation and support services before and during elections.

The contract covers local government elections scheduled in all 32 Scottish councils for May 2012 as well as subsequent by-elections in local authorities until 2015.

Founded in 2002, the Derry company, based at Bishop Street in the city, has helped pioneer the introduction of technology and automation in the election process and provides e-voting - the use of the internet, telephone and SMS for elections - electronic vote-counting and postal vote management and verification.

Ann Marie Slavin, managing director of OPT2VOTE said that the firm is delighted to have secured the high-profile contract.

"The win confirms our position as one of the premier providers of election services in the UK," she said.

"We are particularly pleased to have won the contract in collaboration with Logica, a long-standing and valued partner with huge expertise in the public sector."

OPT2VOTE and Logica were selected as suppliers of the electronic counting services after a rigorous competitive tender.

Scotland's Minister for Enterprise, Energy and Tourism Jim Mather said that the system would ensure greater transparency.

"Since the problems encountered in the 2007 elections, this Government has taken a series of measures and introduced reforms to ensure there is no repeat," he said.

"The introduction of the new e-counting system is a major step in that process.

"Come the election, it will offer greater transparency through better displays of information as the count progresses.

"The system will have been subjected to rigorous testing to protect against the failures of the past."