General Election 2023: Independent review of counting errors

7 May 2024: After discussion with the Electoral Commission, we decided to review the Electoral Commission’s quality assurance processes for counting votes. We found that there is room to strengthen the way that votes are counted and recorded, and how this process is checked.
Report summary

Read our short summary of why we did this work, what we found, and what needs to happen next.

John Ryan

"Because of the significance of public trust in an election outcome, I expected to see robust, comprehensive, and well monitored quality assurance processes. The Electoral Commission had quality assurance processes in place to check the counting of votes and pick up problems, including "reasonableness checks". Unfortunately, these processes did not identify the errors that occurred."

Video title screen

Watch this video summary to learn more about our report, including what we found.


What's in this report?

We have made seven recommendations to the Electoral Commission.

In Part 1, we describe what we looked at during the review.

In Part 2, we describe the role of the Electoral Commission, the 2023 General Election, and how it differed from previous elections.

In Part 3, we describe how votes are counted.

In Part 4, we describe the errors that were identified in the official results and why they were not identified by the processes designed to detect those errors.

In Part 5, we describe and comment on the Electoral Commission's approach to risk management.

In Part 6, we describe steps the Electoral Commission told us it is taking to improve vote counting, quality assurance, and how results are finalised for the next election.

The Appendix sets out the terms of reference for our review that were discussed with the Electoral Commission.