A London Assembly member has called on election bosses to consider changing how votes in City Hall’s elections are counted in order to speed up results and cut costs.
Currently ballot papers are transported from polling stations to central counting venues located at Alexandra Palace, Excel, and Olympia where they’re scanned into digital form and then counted electronically.
Because of the time needed to securely move the ballot papers counting doesn’t start until the day after Londoners cast their vote.
Despite the use of e-counting each of the four City Hall elections to date have seen delays in confirming the results, with the result of the 2012 Mayoral contest between Boris Johnson and Ken Livingstone not known until almost midnight due to a power cut at Alexandra Palace.
City Hall recently awarded a £3.6m contract to supply the e-counting system for the 2016 Mayoral and London Assembly elections and will also pay up to £470,000 to hire the count venues.
Andrew Boff, a Conservative member of the Assembly, says it could be possible to reduce both cost and delays if counting was instead carried out in polling stations.
He wants the Electoral Commission to authorise a pilot of the local polling station counting to assess its merits.
“The delays over the announcement of the results of the Mayoral and London Assembly elections in 2012 damaged London’s reputation,” said Mr Boff.
“The £3.6 million bill for electronic counting could be better spent on supporting counts in polling stations and getting a result that is quicker, cheaper and more transparent”.
A spokesperson for the Electoral Commission said: “We’re considering the report and will respond following the elections.”