Data entry error is not good enough

Stuff reports:

A voting booth that apparently bucked the region’s National leanings had the local farming community scratching their heads.

One farmer said he couldn’t believe the figures. Another said there must have been a mistake.

Turns out they were right.

The confirmed on Friday that Linkwater, near the Marlborough Sounds, was true blue all along.

The commission’s preliminary results for the rural township showed of the 215 votes, a whopping 123 were for the Māori Party, compared to just 32 for National and 30 for Labour.

But on Friday the commission confirmed there had been a “data entry error” and those 123 votes actually belonged to National.

This is a pretty shocking error. Sure it would have been picked up in the final official count, but that isn’t the point. The Electoral Commission should have built in checks to its system so that data entry errors are picked up before they are published. For example you could require a second independent person to verify a result before it is accepted.

Also to have a party that got 1% of the votes nationwide to score 50% at a polling place should have rung alarm bells. Again, where were the checks?

“Errors like this happen infrequently and processes are in place to pick them up during the official count.”

There should be processes in place to pick them up during the preliminary count.

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