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Scottish National Party wins the Scottish Election by one vote as inquiry begins into rejected vote papers

05 Oct

 The results in the Scottish Election are in and show the SNP have WON the Holyrood election by one seat ! SNP : 47, Labour : 46

Now the negotiations will begin on forming the next Executive .. and as things currently stand, there aren’t enough votes for Labour & the LibDems to form a majority coalition on their own … so now the bargaining begins …

It was certainly good to see Alex Salmond elected in Gordon. Holyrood will be all the better for his presence, but so far on the small party front, many have been squeezed out .. which isn’t so good for democracy … they gave the Parliament a different voice from the main parties, and their presence, will be missed.

I see the people of Roxburgh & Berwickshire managed to throw out Euan Robson at last .. giving a wee chuckle to the many constituents this LibDem failure threw to one side when they asked him for help .. me among them.

I will remember Euan Robson mostly, for insisting I drop all complaints against Scotland’s most famous Crooked Lawyer – Andrew Penman of Stormonth Darling Solicitors, Kelso . For what motive Euan Robson did that, one can only speculate .. but it certainly wasn’t of a motivation to help me, or other constituents whom Drew Penman had robbed while doing his duty as a crooked lawyer.

It would of course, have been good to see an SNP candidate in that constituency, but the people of Rox & Berwickshire don’t seem ready for the SNP yet .. pity .. but as I see from some of the candidates they elected in Jedburgh – another two Tories pop up – a farmer I remember from his fox hunting days Sandy Scott (long history of unmentionables there, yet to be mentioned) and an ex Jedburgh Provost ‘CD King’ Len Wyse (still downloading, are you, Len ?) .. who I have the great displeasure of dealing with over his restrictions of discussing peoples problems with the Jedburgh Community Council he once served on as Provost, as well as on the side disgraceful comments against people in the town .. who may not have voted for him if they knew his opinions & more.

Jedburgh – nice town, shame about the people .. schools can’t teach rabbits to catch mxymatosis but they do teach pupils to explode fireworks in classrooms .. and many of the die hard locals are invariably hostile towards anyone whose father isn’t their mothers brother. The town amazingly has one of the biggest drugs & violence problems in the whole region, despite it’s small size … outsiders beware .. as I found to my cost when some of the town’s rugby players decided to attack & burn our house down a few years ago.

Needless to say, Scottish Borders Council may yet be as corrupt again as it was before and has been since it existed .. no change there then unless the SNP shake things up a bit more and the good news is they did pick up some more seats in other parts of the region .. where sense prevails.

So, it’s congratulations to the SNP .. and forward for Scotland !

Link to a couple of articles in the Scotsman and Herald on the news in the election Check the latest on the parties here : http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/scotland/default.stm

http://www.theherald.co.uk/news/news/display.var.1375675.0.0.php

Chaos at the counts mars a night of success for the SNP
DOUGLAS FRASER, Scottish Political Editor May 04 2007

TENS of thousands of rejected ballot papers in the Holyrood election and computer breakdown threatened to throw the Holyrood and council results into chaos early this morning.

In the relatively few results that were announced through the night, the SNP vote surged, but without a collapse of Labour’s support. Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon were among the SNP’s most high-profile victors in Gordon and Govan.

Labour leader Jack McConnell was the first MSP to have his result declared last night, winning Motherwell and Wishaw despite a 7% swing to the SNP.

Rejected and spoiled ballot papers were running at around 1000 in most seats, and as high as 1850 ballot forms in Glasgow Baillieston. The problem could have rendered around 75,000 votes invalid, and that dragged down the official turnout figure.
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Concerns about the reliability of the count follow protests raised over recent days about delays in sending out postal votes. The controversy is linked to redesign of the Holyrood ballot form, and possible voter confusion with the radically changed voting system for councils.

Apart from those problems, the Western Isles count was delayed until 10am due to problems in flying ballot boxes from Barra to Stornoway.

Although the change in voting forms was disputed by the Scottish Executive, the decision on it lay in Whitehall, and Scotland Office minister David Cairns insisted on going ahead. Ministers also ignored widespread advice to split the day of the Holyrood voting from the new-look council elections.

Mr Cairns said last night the Electoral Commission will have to look into the problem, and Scotland Secretary Douglas Alexander said he had already asked the election watchdog to look into postal vote problems.

Mr Salmond, having gained the Gordon constituency from the LibDems on a swing of nearly 6%, said the decision to run two electoral systems on the same day was wrong.

He was heavily critical of the postal voting arrangements for the election, describing them as “totally inadequate”.

He added that the decision to conduct a Single Transferable Vote (STV) election at the same time as a first past the post ballot for the Scottish Parliament was “deeply mistaken”. “As a direct result tens of thousands of votes across Scotland have been discounted this evening,” he said.

“That is totally unacceptable in a democratic society.”

“With the SNP gaining seats, he went on to say: “There is a wind of change blowing through Scottish politics . . . a new politics is dawning in Scottish confidence.”

SNP results were patchy, failing to take its top target of winning Galloway and Upper Nithsdale from Tory Alex Fergusson, or the number three target of Labour-held Cumbernauld and Kilsyth. The gains from Labour included Dundee West while holding Dundee East, making it the first all-Nationalist city. Deputy leader Nicola Sturgeon won Glasgow Govan from Labour’s Gordon Jackson, its first general election win in the city. Willie Coffey won Kilmarnock and Loudoun from Labour’s Margaret Jamieson.

Tricia Marwick gained Central Fife from Labour’s Christine May, and Bruce Crawford came from third position to take Stirling from Sylvia Jackson of Labour on a 9% swing.

Tory Deputy Presiding Officer Murray Tosh failed to win his party’s top target of Dumfries, which remained with Labour’s Elaine Murray.

The LibDems had a disappointing night of results. Although they gained Dunfermline West from Labour, they lost Gordon to Alex Salmond and both their Borders seats were in doubt.

Labour faced SNP swings ranging from 4% to 15%, in the case of the Airdrie and Shotts seat where Labour faced pressure over changes to Monklands hospital services but still won.

Labour’s majority in Glasgow Kelvin was slashed to 1207, and in Glasgow Anniesland, held by the late Donald Dewar, there was a 4% swing from Labour to SNP.

http://thescotsman.scotsman.com/index.cfm?id=693382007

The Election: What went wrong?
Focus
PAUL RIDDELL

IT WAS a night that will be remembered less for the eventual winner than for the fiasco surrounding what ought to have been a simple process: counting the votes.

The introduction of a new electronic counting system combined with a new single ballot paper for both the constituency and top-up list votes for the Scottish Parliament resulted in delays to scores of counts and thousands of spoiled votes.

Why did it go so badly wrong?

SNP leader Alex Salmond blamed the decision to hold the council elections on the same day as the Holyrood elections under a new single transferable vote (STV) system of proportional representation. He is right. The complexity of the STV system requires electronic counting equipment. Ministers decided to go the whole hog and introduce electronic counting for the Holyrood elections at the same time.

Returning officers who warned that the counts should not begin until Friday morning because the system, although tested, was untried on an election night, were over-ruled.

Two major things went wrong:

* Counting machines operated by the firm DRS failed, resulting in counts being suspended in the early hours in Aberdeen, Argyll & Bute, some Edinburgh seats, Eastwood, Linlithgow, Livingtson, Perth and Tayside North and Strathkelvin & Bearsden until later today.

* Voters appeared confused about the new ballot papers, which carried on the left-hand side a list of those standing for list seats and on the right candidates for constituency seats. Instead of putting one cross in a box on each side, many voters put two crosses in separate boxes on the left, invalidating their ballot. There are estimates of at least 100,000 spoiled papers – which means 5 per cent of voters were disenfranchised.

In one seat, Airdrie and Shotts, 1,536 papers were rejected – more than Labour’s margin of victory in the seat.

The Scotland Office, which was responsible for administering the election, ordered an investigation by the independent Electoral Commission.
Alan Campbell, returning officer for Aberdeenshire, said ministers in the Scottish Executive had ignored advice to delay the count.

“All the returning officers in Scotland did recommend to Scottish ministers that we, in fact, start this whole count process on Friday morning rather than on Thursday evening,” Mr Campbell said.

“Our advice was rejected. We went along with it. People have done their best, but clearly this is a new system and there will be occasional glitches. Staff have not worked on this before,” he added.

Ken Ritchie, chief executive of The Electoral Reform Society, said: “It is clear that the fault is not a consequence of the voting system. When the system was first used in 1999, the number of spoilt ballots was less than 1 per cent. We need to understand what has gone so wrong as to increase this number more than tenfold.

“Neither is the fault in the electronic counting technology. While the counting equipment has experienced teething problems in some areas, it is not the equipment that has caused people to make mistakes in the completion of their ballot papers.”

In his speech after winning the Gordon constituency, Mr Salmond said: “It is also the case that the decision to conduct an STV election at the same time as a first-past-the-post ballot for the Scottish Parliament was deeply mistaken.

“As a direct result, tens of thousands of votes across Scotland have been discounted. That is totally unacceptable in a democratic society.”

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Posted by on October 5, 2007 in Law

 

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