Automated vote-counting machines which the Electoral Commission plans to use for MEP and local council elections in May still have an error rate of 20%,  Opposition MP Beppe Fenech Adami said in parliament on Wednesday.

He said this had emerged from the most recent test-run carried out on the machines.

The error rate represented a halving of a previous rate of 40%, he said, but the fact that the system could be manipulated in such a way as to reduce error meant that it could also be manipulated to increase error.

Read: Election results in six hours instead of three days

Dr Fenech Adami said that particularly in local council elections, where winners and losers were sometimes decided by a handful of votes, it was essential to have absolute certainty in any system used in the election.

Dr Fenech Adami also pointed out that Electoral Commission's proposals to give each political party a copy of each and every used ballot paper could lead to vote-buying as ballot boxes were assigned to particular streets, making it possible to search for a particular voting pattern agreed upon in advance with a voter from a specific address.

Read: E-counting system flaws could lead to voter fraud, warns PN

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