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Last Updated: Saturday, 23 June 2007, 23:10 GMT 00:10 UK
Ballot paper report at-a-glance
A report on the high number of rejected ballot papers at the Holyrood election has been published by the University of Strathclyde.

Here are the main findings:

  • The total number of rejected ballot papers in 1999 was 7,839 in constituency contests and 7,268 in list contests. In 2007, the comparable figures were 85,643 and 60,454.
  • No area was immune from the rejected ballot problem - it was pervasive and infected all Scottish constituencies.
  • There was a strong relationship between social context and the relative level of rejected ballots - the greater the degree of social deprivation in a constituency, the higher the rate of ballot rejections.
  • Rejected ballots were unrelated to those discounted in the previous election.
  • There was distinct statistical evidence that the number of parties on the regional list was a significant predictor of rejected constituency and regional ballots.
  • The problems associated with rejected ballots increased with the number of parties on the regional lists.
  • The percentage of rejected constituency ballots across Scottish constituencies ranged from 1.90% (Stirling, with 633 rejected ballots) to 12.09% (Glasgow Shettleston, with 2,035 rejected ballots).
  • There were 16 constituencies where the number of rejected ballots exceeded the winning candidate's majority.
  • The percentage of rejected regional list ballots across Scottish constituencies ranged from 1.65% (Gordon, with 598 rejected regional ballots) and 5.89% (Glasgow Shettleston, with 992 rejected regional ballots).
  • Changes in ballot design and the introduction of electronic counting possibly led, either directly or indirectly, to an increase in rejected ballots.
  • As the number of parties on the regional lists increased the ballot papers became pressed for space, and in those regions with a large number of parties on the regional list the instruction format on the ballots was altered.
  • More education may be needed before large-scale changes in the voting system.
  • A great deal of work still needs to be done to identify as many of the causes and effects of ballot rejection as possible, including an examination of the administration of elections.
  • Anecdotal evidence indicated that the problems with the 2007 election have negatively influenced public confidence in electoral procedures and practices in Scotland.

Poverty linked to spoiled ballots
23 Jun 07 |  Scotland

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