How CGI and Smartmatic helped London with its elections

31 May 2021 2 min. read
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Global IT and business consulting services firm CGI has worked to deliver end-to-end services, software and technical infrastructure for the electronic counting of votes in the recent London elections. Working alongside technology specialist Smartmatic, the firm ensured the count was delivered securely, accurately, and with reduced staffing requirements.

As of 2018, professional services firm CGI was contracted to provide an electronic solution – developed in partnership with London-based elections technology company Smartmatic. The work was for the accurate counting of voter marks on ballot papers and declaration of results for three elections scheduled to take place in May 2020: the Mayor of London, 14 Constituency Assembly Members, and 11 London-wide Assembly Members.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the mayoral and assembly elections were postponed until 2021, due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The 2021 poll eventually saw incumbent Sadiq Khan returned to office, after obtaining a majority of 55.2% of the vote in the second round of counting.

How CGI and Smartmatic helped London with its elections

Donna Kelly, Senior Vice President, South and Midlands Business Unit at CGI in the UK said, “We are delighted to have worked with the GLA and London Boroughs to plan, test, train and successfully deliver the e-counting solution for the recent London elections. Our focus was on helping to deliver a transparent, secure and accurate election in a safe environment.”

With a voting population of nearly 6.2 million scattered across 32 boroughs, London has one of the most complex local election landscapes in the UK. Approximately 10.6 million votes were counted as the Mayoral election used preferential voting and each voter selected two options. During this, the Greater London Authority had to employ three different counting systems: first-past-the-post, a supplementary vote system, and a form of proportional representation. The electronic count was validated by the Constituency Returning Officer and the Greater London Returning Officer.

CGI and Smartmatic, together with other partners including Hamilton Rentals, also took part in a  pilot with the counting of postal and in-person votes in the Alexandra Palace, Excel and Olympia districts of London. The centralised processing of the voter-marked ballots began on May 7th, and was split over two days to ensure a Covid-19 safe environment. Using high-speed scanners in the three count centres, the count was delivered with streamlined ballot processing, enhanced auditing and reduced staffing requirements – while CGI also ensured stringent cybersecurity measures were in place.

Deputy Greater London Returning Officer, Alex Conway concluded, “With CGI, Smartmatic and partners, we knew the count was in safe hands. The commitment of their teams meant the rapid shift to delivering a COVID-safe election was a real success.”