Electoral Commission Survey

Modern Polling iPad in use in a polling station

29th April 2024

Electoral Commission Survey

It is official: using tablets at polling stations is easier – and affordable.

By Ann-Marie Slavin, Director of Strategy, Modern Democracy

The Electoral Commission recently shared with Election Officers the findings of its survey of polling station staff that participated in elections in 2023 – and it showed those using digital check-in platforms such as Modern Polling found the process easier and less stressful.

The survey reported that around half of all polling staff found the administration associated with running the election was more difficult in 2023, with the implementation of Voter ID only adding to the complexity.

However, those working in stations using tablets, “defied the wider trend” reporting that the election was “easier to administer compared to previous years and did not report any significant increase in the time taken to process electors.”

In its report, the Commission said that digital technology appeared “to have a positive impact” on the ease of administering the election and the time taken to process each voter.

The survey found more than three-times the number of local authorities in England used tablets or computers than in 2022, with those using tablets reporting some incredible findings:

  • 54% said it was ‘easier’ and 32% reported it was ‘significantly easier’
  • 36% reported less time to process each elector and 15% reported ‘significantly less time’
Modern Polling iPad in use in a polling station

Compare that to polling stations where tablets were not in use, and 68% of those staff reported processing times were taking longer – and the difference is clear to see.

When local authorities themselves were asked what improvement could be made to polling stations using tablets, they cited streamlining the process of finding electors on the register and reducing paper usage among the benefits.

Meanwhile positive comments received by surveyors on how to improve the polling day experience included:

  • "Continue using the Modern Polling app as this has saved a lot of time and issues" can we "Always use iPads”
  • "Use of tablets - much more accurate and professional-looking to the public"

Of course, we are not surprised as our customers continually tell us of the transformative impact Modern Polling has had on their electoral services, the experience of polling staff and voters.

As we approach this year’s local elections and a planned General Election more local authorities are investing in digital solutions for election day, with over 50 councils now choosing Modern Democracy as their polling day partner of choice.

Recently clarity from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, on allowable expenses for Returning Officers has also increased the economic benefits of the proposition.

As electronic pollbooks become the de facto standard, the guidance has been updated so that the Department will reimburse some of the associated costs from the UK Government’s Consolidated Fund.

If you have any questions regarding this topic, or interested in a further discussion about anything election-related, please contact me.

Ann-Marie. Director of Strategy, Modern Democracy.