Monday, 7 May 2007

Scottish Elections 13 - Piss-up in a Brewery

What a shambles!

They couldn’t organise a piss-up in a brewery!!

100, 000 ballot papers rejected.

Two different ballot papers used for two different elections taking place at the same time: Scottish Parliament and Council elections.

The two elections required two different voting methods: the Scottish Parliament ballot required Xs to be inserted whereas the council elections required voters preferences to be inserted as numbers 1, 2,3,4 etc.

The Scottish Parliament ballot paper required two votes (Xs) to be made: one X in each of two columns.

Each column was for a different method of electing an MSP: one column was a vote for an individual and led to the election of an MSP for a constituency; the other column required a vote for a party and eventually led to the election of several MSPs from lists of candidates supplied by each party

The full instructions were not included on the ballot paper: 2 arrows which should have ensured Xs were inserted into the correct column were omitted from the ballot paper because there was no space. The ballot paper could not be made larger because then the paper would be too large for the electronic counting machines.

Two Xs in one column --- ballot paper rejected

One X in one column and no X in the other column --- ballot paper rejected

Each ballot paper had a barcode which had to be read by the counting machine for the paper to be valid. These barcodes were very near perforations on the ballot paper. When officials handed voters their ballot paper they (officials) had to tear the perforations. The perforations were poorly made and occasionally the barcode was damaged as the officials tore the perforations.

The Scottish Executive set up a Commission to advise on the running of the election. The Commission advised that the two elections should not take place at the same time. The Scottish Executive chose to ignore this advice.

The electronic counting machines did not work properly and counts were shut down form hours.

Apparently, at different count centres different criteria were applied to decide if ballot papers wer valid or not.

They are trying to run country.

They couldn’t organise a piss-up in a brewery.

A national embarrassment!!


  1. Sounds like a lot of Democratic voters in Floride ;)

    I assume they were democratic voters, since Al Gore assured everyone that they were.

  2. Ha, ha. Bloody Scots!

    Now what are you going to say to that, Sir Calum?

  3. LN and James

    If I knew what you were going on about I might comment appropriately but I don't.

    Therefore, I say only a few words:

    "I shall remain above the petty name-calling which you two bloody right-wingers have initiated!!!!

    Also, James, I'm pleased to see that you recognise that my talents are worthy of a knighthood. Your judgment in this respect - if not in others - is exemplary.



  4. You'll have to read up on the 'stolen' election in 2000.

    Voters in certain Florida precincts couldn't figure out how to punch a card to vote.

    Of course they changed it to electronic after the major fuss and those same voters couldn't figure that out either... now they are going back to paper...

  5. LN

    Sorry my comment was unclear. I'm au fait with Florida and the stolen election.

    I wasn't sure the conection you were making with the Sottish.

  6. The voters in Florida couldn't 'piss-up in a brewery' was the connection