Sunday, 12 April 2009

New System Used for Glenrothes By-Election Postal Voting

There has been much talk about the postal votes in the Glenrothes by-election which took place last year.  I'm not sure how many of you are aware that a Northern Ireland based company Opt2Vote was used for their expertise in postal voting. It's the first time this system has been used in Scotland but it has been used in England and the company boasts Shrewsbury & Atcham Council, Lewisham Council, Birmingham City Council, Halton Borough Council and Thanet District Council amongst their satisfied customers.

In their Newsletter No 6 the Glenrothes by-election is described as follows (please note the use of Scotland Region):

The Parliamentary By-Election for the Glenrothes Constituency for Fife

Council was one of the most hotly contested and publicised by -elections in recent

years with an 80% turnout of postal voters. It was delivered by OPT2VOTE’s team of

election management specialists on 6th November and was the first election in Fife

since the introduction of Personal Identifiers (PIs).

OPT2VOTE successfully delivered its Postal Vote Management Solution which

works with all EMS systems and included the provision of a postal vote management

team (including the staff to process returned postal votes) and all equipment.

OPT2VOTE also provided a full print service delivering poll cards, ballot papers and

postal packs.

Iain Grant, Fife Council commented,

“OPT2VOTE provided an excellent and timely service. The system used to prepare,

proof and sign off documentation was simple and easy to use. This was the first

election in Scotland where the Returning Officer was required to verify personal

identifiers on postal vote statements and with the help of OPT2VOTE and its Postal

Vote Management System we achieved 100% verification The staff of OPT2VOTE

were helpful and responded well to questions or issues raised by the Election


The Election was attended by representatives from 10 other constituencies. The

event was a great success and OPT2VOTE is looking forward to running more

elections in the Scotland Region.


Ted Foan said...

Well, what's wrong with that? Scotland is a region - of the EU!

But it also forms part of that "arc of prosperity" (which includes Iceland) that your cuddly Mr Salmond described so beautifully!

Don't you just love politicians?

Goodnight Vienna said...

Opt2Vote says the Glenrothes by-election was "a great success." Amazing, unexpected or even incredible perhaps but surely not 'great'. Whatever did happen to that missing Register btw? I understood the SNP were on the case; has it turned up yet?

Oldrightie said...

OPT2VOTE successfully delivered its Postal Vote Management Solution.

They did that alright. The solution to Brown's immediate survival. Crooks. Dig deep enough you'll find some Labour involvement.

subrosa said...

Morning gentlemen, no GV I think the register has perhaps gone to the great register home in the sky or even an attic near you.

subrosa said...

Ted you never miss a trick do you :) Don't forget to roll your egg today before you eat that lamb now!

subrosa said...

What surprised me Oldrightie is why didn't the media report that this new system was used. Strange, I've a feeling somehow we weren't supposed to know in case of comment. I'm surprised one of the other parties didn't comment about it.

Vronsky said...

Opt2vote is a partner company of Northgate, which hosts Labour sites such as and

The Open Rights Group had this to say about Opt2vote

ORG was unable to examine or verify the servers or systems they used in any meaningful sense. While ORG considers that the physical security for the ES&S and Tata locations was reasonable—and very good for the OPT2VOTE location observed —ORG is unable to comment further on the servers. Without more information on the specifications of the systems and clear rules on the access observers could request in pilot situations, ORG was restricted to what the suppliers were willing to offer or what their clients were willing to support. No matter what access was provided, fundamentally the servers are opaque to the human eye. No observer would be able to examine what the server was doing, what data it was sending and receiving or whether problems were occurring, without detailed technical access to the software and its operating system, yet it would be inappropriate and is clearly against guidelines for observers to handle anything to do with the running of the election. Hence ORG must conclude that the servers and their operations were—and will remain in future elections—unobservable.

The same report says of the Electoral Commission:

How does DCA or the Electoral Commission know about the extent of electoral fraud when neither of them have kept any statistics nor have undertaken any research on the issue? Is it that, in their obsession with increasing participation at all costs, they have turned a blind eye to the risks of electoral fraud and its consequences on the integrity of our democratic system?

Labour have form on fiddling postal votes:

Get the votes and we can win, but don't get caught with them

Faux Cu said...

This company is head quartered in London/Derry!

N Ireland is hardly the epitome of probity in political voting systems.

Vote early and often!

subrosa said...

Indeed FC and I must thank you for bringing this to my attention, I mean the fact that such a company was used but not publicised.

Didn't know how to put courtesy of Faux Cu on the post when you don't have a blog. Perhaps I should have done without a link come to think of it.

I shall do so in future.

subrosa said...

Vronsky now that is interesting.

OutLander said...

Good post.

I hadn't seen the Times article on Leeds, or heard anything about Opt2Vote.

The plot thickens.

OutLander said...

Good post.

I hadn't seen the Times article on Leeds, or heard anything about Opt2Vote.

The plot thickens.

OutLander said...

Sorry if that came through twice.

subrosa said...

That's ok OutLander, I can't be bothered deleting it. Been deleting half the day by the feel of it.

Aye the plot thickens. Maybe some insider could tell us more.

Faux Cu said...

“The people who cast the votes don’t decide an election, the people who count the votes do. ”

Uncle Josef Stalin

Silent Hunter said...


I loved you when they used to let me comment at the Guardian..........I think I love you even more now! :o)

X That's a big smackeroonee just for you.

subrosa said...

Well thank you Silent Hunter. First one today too - and possibly the last knowing my luck :)

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