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Local elections: Technical hiccup affects electronic polling system

22:37 14/10/2018

Almost 50 polling stations in the Brussels region opened late on Sunday because of a technical problem with the electronic voting system.

Voting was due to begin at 8.00 - but by 10.00 about 30 stations had still yet to open and in some locations the issue was not fixed until midday.

The problems arose when the electronic touch-screen terminals failed to recognised the necessary USB keys, which record the results of the ballot.

Replacement flash drives were sent out. In the meantime, long queues formed at some polling stations and voters were encouraged to cast their vote at other locations in the commune.

Forest and Uccle were worst-affected, with 12 and 13 stations respectively unable to open on time. Technical problems also arose in Schaerbeek, Auderghem and Evere.

Despite the delay getting started, all polling stations closed in the Brussels region as planned at 16.00. You can read our overview of some of the headline results here.

The technical bug coincided with a visit by several foreign delegations - from Estonia, Ukraine, Tunisia, South Korea and Canada - who had come to Brussels to see how the e-voting process works.

Belgium is seen as a pioneer in electronic voting technology, which was first introduced in 1991. All Brussels municipalities have used the system since 1994.

Photo: Bruno Fahy/Belga