Management errors may see future London vote counts moved from Alexandra Palace

From the Electoral Commission’s report into this May’s London elections:

On the morning of 4 May, a test of the sprinkler system at Alexandra Palace disabled the venue’s power supply. The test happened in spite of earlier agreement between the GLRO and the venue management that there would be no test of the system on that day. The power loss caused the e-count system software to reset – a process that took over two hours to complete … There was a further system failure affecting one constituency during the day, causing a delay of around two hours. The [Returning Officer] reported that there was very little information on the day about what had caused this problem and the IT support staff did not seem to understand the issue. These failures highlight the vulnerabilities in conducting an electronic count in a venue with an interruptible power supply. It also shows the importance of clear communications between venue management, IT systems staff and the staff of the [Returning Officers]. Unless the [Greater London Returning Officer] addresses these serious issues prior to conducting an electronic count at future GLA elections, we recommend that a different venue should be used.

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