Electronic counting (e-counting) was used in May 2007 for the first time in Scotland's local and national elections. It replaced the traditional manual method of processing votes.
Technological advances meant that the often time- consuming process of counting votes can now be carried out electronically, requiring a smaller number of support staff.
The system also deals automatically with the complex process of counting mathematical calculations required by the Single Transferable Vote system, making it a virtual necessity for Local Government Elections.
In 2007, all 32 Scottish Local authorities adopted the e-counting system, which involved a bank of electronic scanners supported by a team of computer operators and supervisors.
The electronic system was used for the Aberdeenshire Council and Aberdeen City Councils both held at the Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre on the night of Thursday, May 3, 2007
The scanners are sensitive enough to recognise and highlight any spoiled or damaged ballot papers, or those where marks have not been made within the area of the boxes. As all the data is gathered, the system will calculate the votes to determine which candidates have been successful.
The new system does not have a dramatic effect on the layout of polling places, although the way voters deliver their completed ballot paper changes slightly. In 2007, traditional black metal ballot boxes were replaced with recyclable boxes with voting slots in the side instead of the top.
A manual count continues to be used for elections in the UK and European Parliaments, as well as at the next Scottish Parliamentary Election.