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Last Updated: Wednesday, 27 September 2006, 23:25 GMT 00:25 UK
Electronic voting 'world first'
Digital pen and paper
The smart pen records votes on digital paper
A small Scottish community has made history by making what is thought to be the world's first use of a new type of electronic voting system.

Residents in the town of Menstrie, Clackmannanshire, have been making use of "smart pens" to cast votes at the local community council elections.

The system uses the special pens to record the votes on digital paper.

Legally, the results of the traditional paper ballot will still form the basis of the election result.

But the counted result will be compared with the data captured through the digital pens during the electronic voting trial.

'Enormous' benefits

It has been claimed that the technology, developed by Swedish technology firm Anoto, has the potential for election results to be instantly known while still keeping the ballot secret.

"The potential benefits in national elections are enormous if the technology proves itself and becomes widely accepted," said a spokesman for Clackmannanshire Council.

The count will begin after the polling station, at Menstrie's Dumyat Centre, closes at 2000 BST.

The trial is also being observed by a representative of the Department for Constitutional Affairs, which has responsibility for election policy.

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