Four more constituencies are to use electronic voting in the forthcoming Nice Treaty referendum.

The Environment Minister, Martin Cullen, made the announcement today. The system is to be used in the constituencies of Dublin Mid-West, South and South-West and in Dun Laoghaire.

Along with the three constituencies that used electronic voting and counting in the general election, the new system will be used by over half a million people, or 18% of the electorate.

However, the Minister indicated that changes would be made to the method of announcing the results when electronic voting is used in general or local elections.

This decision follows criticism of the way the results were announced in the three electronic constituencies in the general election, particularly in Dublin North, where sitting candidate Nora Owen of Fine Gael had no indication she would lose her seat until the announcement was made.

Minister Cullen said he believes each count centre should have a large screen where the results of each count can be shown, so that everyone can see what trends are emerging.

But he added that 96% of voters found the machines easy to use, and that participants in the long recounts in Cork and Wicklow would have welcomed electronic counting.