The Electoral Commission : Elections : Elections 2007 : Scottish Elections Review

The UK Electoral Commission issued a report on the Scottish elections, where many problems occurred (click headline link). The report finds that there were many problems in the election. As The Herald reports,

Scotland needs to have a national returning officer and one layer of government controlling elections, according to a hard-hitting review of the fiasco that hit the May 3 ballots this year. It is understood that Ron Gould, the Canadian elections expert who has led a five-month review of what went wrong at the Holyrood and council votes, will report this morning that the fractured nature of elections in Scotland needs to be confronted.

The design of that ballot paper was the source of the main problems at last May’s elections, when more than 150,000 votes were deemed to be spoiled because they had not been properly filled in. In several constituencies, that meant more spoiled ballots than the size of the majority. This has been linked to the design of the ballot form being unclear, and there is likely to be criticism in the Gould report of the Scotland Office and Electoral Commission for their testing of the papers before they were used.

The elections were also marred by the delay in sending out postal ballots, meaning some people were unable to vote. And with electronic counting machines being used for the first time in Scottish elections, there were serious delays when some scanners failed to work properly.

The blame is expected to be shared around the Scotland Office, for its decision on the new, single ballot forms; the Electoral Commission for its advice on the voting forms; the former Scottish Executive for defying widespread advice that it should not hold the Holyrood and council elections on the same day; on returning officers for poor co-ordination; and on the company that ran the electronic counting systems.