Elections NB scrapping vote-counting software after election night delays
Published Wednesday, March 4, 2015 8:22PM AST
After causing chaos on election night, prompting questions of accuracy and accountability, the software used to count votes in New Brunswick has been shelved.
When voters in New Brunswick went to the polls on Sept. 22, in the provincial general election that ousted then-Premier David Alward, a software problem caused inaccurate data to flow from Elections New Brunswick to its website and media outlets.
Official results were delayed by hours.
In a new report, Elections NB says that, while the electronic counting machines worked properly, it was the malfunctioning vote-counting software that caused the problem and it won’t be used again.
For some, the problems called into question the integrity of the entire process.
“Some of the numbers on the screen, for a time, were going down, not up,” said Tom Bateman, recalling election night.
The political science professor at St. Thomas University in Fredericton said he expected more substantial changes in the wake of what happened.
“I thought there would be much more precipitous action taken, like maybe the Chief Electoral Officer might consider it appropriate to resign, something like that,” Bateman said.
“But, in fact, things have been shepherded fairly quietly; the problem has been isolated and he's got one more chance.”
Paul Harpelle, spokesperson for Elections NB, said the glitch was in the downloading of the data — so, going forward,that part of the processis being removed.
“They're going to be done behind the GNB firewall, essentially internally, so it won't require having the file transfer protocol software involved anywhere in the validating process,” Harpelle said.
The confusion surrounding the results of the Sept. 22 election prompted a record nine recounts.
The Progressive Conservative party, which lost power in the election, is reviewing the results.
“Right now, we're studying the report and we'll come back and see what we want to maybe suggest or say what's good or what's not,” said J.P. Soucy, executive director of the New Brunswick PC party.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Andy Campbell