States of Guernsey - General Election 2020UK ENGAGE PROVIDES BALLOT PAPER SCANNING EQUIPMENT & ELECTORAL PRINT & MAIL FOR GUERNSEY'S GENERAL ELECTION
Island selects UK Engage to provide ballot paper scanning technology and printing expertise for the historic election.
The States of Guernsey is the official legislative and governing body of the Island of Guernsey and the other inhabited Channel Islands of Alderney, Sark, Herm, Jethou, Brecqhou and Lihou.
In 2018 a referendum in Guernsey resulted in a vote for island-wide voting to be implemented for the next General Election, which was to be held in 2020. The new voting system meant a move away from the previous parish voting system and therefore key considerations were needed, namely: –
- The ballot paper would need to accommodate candidates from across the island and would therefore need to be much longer than individual parish ballot papers
- The counting of the ballot papers could no longer be done manually and would require ballot paper scanning technology
In addition, as the timing of the General Election of People’s Deputies was during the coronavirus pandemic, 1000s of islander’s registered for a postal vote to avoid attending the polling stations in person.
Solution - Ballot Paper Design & Print:
The ballot paper needed to accommodate candidates from across the island. Based upon previous candidate numbers from across the 10 parishes that make up Guernsey, it was estimated there could be up to 150 possible candidates. Using this information, the production team at UK Engage designed a new ballot paper format, taking into account the legislative requirements such as weight of paper, font size, and candidate spacing. In addition, the unique requirements of the scanning equipment had to be factored into the overall design.
The contract required an election printing expert that could guarantee the production of the large format ballot paper even if the number of candidates, and therefore the size, increased or decreased. The result was a bespoke 24-inch ballot paper that featured 119 candidates and met the exact needs for the Guernsey General Election.
Solutions - Postal Vote Printing:
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, registrations for postal votes soared as thousands of voters opted to stay away from the island’s polling stations. The final number of postal vote registrations was more than 21,000 and huge increase (950% to be exact) on the number of postal vote registrations in 2016.
Due to its robust supply chain, UK Engage was able to respond accordingly to produce enough printed envelopes, declarations, which along with the ballot paper made up the components of the ballot pack, to cover the increased in expected postal votes. Furthermore, due to the legislation governing the election, it was necessary to match three items within the pack (outer Envelope, the A Envelope, and the B Envelope) whilst maintain 100% accuracy and auditability.
Solution - Ballot Paper Scanning:
Island-wide voting meant that the previous method of counting votes, which was historically carried out manually at a parish level, needed to be reviewed to make it faster and to eliminate human error. UK Engage implemented ballot paper scanning technology at the count venue at Beau Sejour Leisure Centre. Dedicated sections were set up for opening, scanning, transposition, and adjudication. The final number of 24,627 ballot papers, measuring 24-inch each were processed and adjudicated to identify any ambiguous ballots.
By all accounts, the results were deemed very successful. Especially turnout which had increased by 13% from an already impressive result in General Election in 2016.
“As the Central Returning Officer for the General Election of People Deputies of Guernsey 2020, I worked directly with UK Engage undertaking the complete count and verification process of all ballots cast. The e-counting system performed beyond expectations giving us timely and accurate results, along with the ability to manually adjudicate any doubtful ballots. The onsite staff supporting our team were excellent and extremely knowledgeable, giving us confidence in all of the processes and stages undertaken in this complex count. I would have no hesitation in recommending UK Engage to anyone thinking of introducing complex technical solutions for election processing.”
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