A spokesperson for the Electoral Commission has said that there will be a ‘thorough investigation’ after automated vote counting machines that are due to be used in 250 General Election constituencies ignored Conservative and UKIP votes in tests.
With so little time remaining until the polls open, it is now hoped that any problems can be fixed before counting begins at around 10pm on election night.
A source said: ‘The machines have been brought in to speed up the counting process in 250 constituencies, and it is common operating procedure to test them on the day before an election.’
‘However, we prepared a test batch of 100 ballot papers for each machine, with 20 votes for the Conservatives, Labour, Liberal Democrats, UKIP and Greens, and UKIP and the Tories came out with zero.’
‘It might be a software issue, and so we will roll out an update overnight to every machine – that should fix the problem.’
‘Certain areas of each ballot paper appear to be in some kind of blind spot, meaning that UKIP and Conservative votes are often coming up as spoiled.’
The machines have cost the commission £350,000 each, and they are made by the US automation company BunchaCounts.
BunchaCounts CEO Jeff Kablam-Shazaam said: ‘I can only apologise for any concerns over the machines that have been shipped to the United Kingdom.’
‘Our engineers are working on a solution, but as an emergency measure we may issue advice for voters to use felt-tip pens or Sharpies to make sure that the votes are counted.’