Today, there is a much higher expectation around access to accurate data and real-time information. On election day, returning officers/deputy returning officers and election managers are continually asked by candidates and media for updates on progress – these figures need to be verifiable and accurate.
Ensuring reporting is error-free is imperative. However, getting real-time, accurate information has traditionally been a laborious process, prone to human error. Election managers may have to call each individual polling station – of which there are typically between 100-400 – to get the latest figures. This process must be repeated continually throughout the day. Figures are out of date as soon as they are given, making the process not only time-consuming, but inherently inaccurate.
Election managers must also ensure that each polling station is fully equipped for election day to run smoothly and that problems are handled swiftly. This involves a lot of pre-election preparation: reviewing paper-based checklists, proxy lists and ballot paper accounts; checking for register updates; and so on. Election managers must confirm that polling stations have opened and closed on time and manage resources and risks throughout the day. For example, if several polling staff called in sick and new staff need to be deployed – a particularly pressing issue in recent elections during the pandemic – the election manager must be able to redeploy resources seamlessly. This creates a very stressful environment. After the polls close, there is a huge amount of reporting required, and work is needed to analyse the activities of the day to take learnings for the next election, often requiring key data to be manually entered. This process is prone to human error, as well as being resource- and time-intensive.
Proven at scale and successfully deployed across 1,500 polling stations, Modern Democracy’s feature-rich, market leading secure SaaS platform, Modern Polling takes the pain out of polling. The Election Management Portal allows election managers and returning officers to monitor the election in real time from anywhere, via the cloud. It provides dashboards with real-time data and analytics on polling station performance and voter turn-out throughout the day and automatically generates required statutory reports – such as the Ballot Paper Account. As each polling station is connected to the central register via the Modern Polling front end, updates (such as emergency proxies) can be recorded centrally in real time, leading to fewer corrections. Secure by design, all data is stored securely via AWS for 12 months and securely deleted within set timeframes, ensuring councils are compliant with GDPR and other data protection standards. This gives election managers and returning officers the confidence that election integrity is maintained, significantly reducing the administrative burden for election managers, and increasing confidence and trust in the veracity of the reports for returning officers.
An election manager had a direct request from the returning officer to personally check that polling stations had been opened as scheduled. This manual process took two and a half hours to complete. When Modern Democracy was introduced, the request was completed in a fifth of the time.
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