Case Study – Sheffield City Council – Modern™ Polling

In May 2018 the Modern™ Polling platform was successfully used by Sheffield City Council for the fourth consecutive year. With the aim of transforming election day administration, Modern™ Polling was the first introduction of digital technology of its kind into polling stations in the UK. Its delivery of a secure, efficient election day and ability to provide real time visibility and insight to inform future elections, has earned it the 2018 Gold Innovation Award for transforming public service delivery.

The Challenge: Transforming the Traditional Administration of Polling day

Throughout their years of experience in the electoral services industry, Modern Democracy saw a real problem faced by local councils and Election Managers. Namely, their struggle with paper-based systems of polling day administration. These systems were at their best slow, inefficient and unsecured, and at their worst, risked denying poll goers their right to vote.

In 2014 Modern Democracy set out to work in conjunction with Sheffield City Council to understand how the delivery of Election Day could be improved and utilised by, what would be, the first ever introduction of digital technology of this type into UK polling stations.


Modern Democracy formed a dedicated team of Election and Software professionals to undertake an analysis of Sheffield’s key requirements and design an appropriate digital alternative to the manual systems.

Modern Democracy presented an innovative solution which met the both Sheffield City Council’s and Modern Democracy’s objectives to:

  • Transform the polling day administration process through the development and deployment of technology to make it more efficient, transparent and secure.

  • Collect important statistical data for detailed analysis to drive future planning and management of polling day.

  • Provide real time information and a secure communication tool between Election Managers, Presiding Officers and Poll Station Inspectors.

The Solution: Modern Polling™

Our innovative Modern Polling™ platform provided all the necessary features required to deliver the successful administration of polling day including:

  • A cloud based secure multi-platform solution working on any device, phone, laptop or tablet.

  • An interface dashboard with real time information displaying statistics on the number of ballot papers issued, the timings of postal pack collections, the percentage of voter turnout, the number of issues reported, and the time taken to resolve an issue.

  • An instant communication feature allowing the reporting and recording of pending issues.

  • An audit trail of reports allowing Election Managers to analyse peak times and recurrent issues after the event.

The Modern Polling™ application thus gives Electoral Managers, presiding officers and their electoral staff more control, reduced risk and improved efficiency during polling day ensuring the security, integrity and accuracy of election service implementation and delivery.

Measuring Success

The Modern Polling™ platform was successfully delivered in Poll stations throughout Sheffield with a combined 93,342 ballot papers issued and 1746 postal packs received.

The May 2018 election marked Sheffield Council’s sixth time using the Modern Polling™ platform over four consecutive years. The repeated use of our Modern Polling™ platform is testament to its success and the benefits it brings. Helping election administrators run election day more efficiently, cost effectively and accurately, a welcomed and needed upgrade to the 21st century.

In 2018 Modern Democracy was awarded the Gold Innovation Award for bringing to the market new innovative technologies to transform the delivery of public service through the Modern Polling™ platform. This recognition by the IESE Public Sector Transformation Awards is again testament to not only Modern Polling’s™ success but its increasing necessity in polling stations throughout the UK.

“Modern Democracy is delighted to have successfully delivered Modern Polling™ to Sheffield City Council for the fourth consecutive year. This commitment to the Modern Polling™ platform, is testament to its great benefit, providing much needed insight into the Polling Station, tools for communication across all polling stations and delivering meaningful statistics after the election that can be used in training and preparations for next election.”

Siobhan Donaghy, CEO, Modern Democracy

“Modern Democracy provides innovative solutions to help with electoral administration.  But they didn’t just provide a technical solution.  They listened to our requirements and adapted the technology to give us a best fit solution.”

John Tomlinson, Electoral Services Manager, Sheffield City Council