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Last Updated: Wednesday, 9 May 2007, 11:43 GMT 12:43 UK
Rejected votes more than thought
Ballot count
Many voters were said to have found the ballot papers confusing
The number of rejected votes in the Scottish elections was much higher than previously thought.

It had been estimated that about 100,000 ballots had been discounted, mainly because of errors in the way they were completed.

Figures obtained from returning officers show the final tally of rejected votes was almost 142,000.

This was made up of 85,644 rejected constituency votes and 56,247 from the regional list.

Much of the confusion seems to have been caused because voters were asked for the first time to enter their choice for the regional list and for their constituency on a single ballot paper.

The chaos was compounded by a separate ballot paper for the local authority elections.

This used a different voting system which asked voters to use numbers to indicate their preference rather than a cross.

About two-thirds of the papers on the regional list were rejected because they were unmarked or otherwise unclear.

Central - 4,598
Glasgow - 9,000
Highlands and Islands - 5,506
Lothians - 9,084
Mid Scotland - 6,611
North East - 5,584
South - 7,902
West - 7,962
TOTAL - 56,247

The other third were rejected because more than one candidate had been chosen.

It is still not possible to say how many individuals may have been disenfranchised because some may have lost both their votes.

The turnout at the election was 51.8%, with 2,016,978 constituency votes cast and 2,042,109 regional votes.

That means 3.5% of the total votes cast were rejected.

The figures for spoilt ballots were obtained by Newsnight Scotland after Scottish Secretary Douglas Alexander told the House of Commons he had no idea what the true number of spoilt papers was.

The number of spoilt ballots caused severe delays for several counts across Scotland as election night descended into chaos.

The volume of spoilt papers has also led to threats of legal action, with former minister Allan Wilson consulting Labour party solicitors after losing his Cunninghame North seat by only 48 votes to the SNP.

While lawyer Mike Dailly from the Govan Law Centre has said he was considering action over the result of the Glasgow regional list.

An electoral commission report into the fiasco is expected to be published in the summer.

SNP leader Alex Salmond has already called for a further independent inquiry into what went wrong with the electoral process.

Aberdeen Central 776
Aberdeen North 1,173
Aberdeen South 1,139
Aberdeenshire West &Kincardine 984
Airdrie & Shotts 1,536
Angus 873
Argyll & Bute 900
Ayr 873
Banff & Buchan 1,443
Caithness, Sutherland & Easter Ross 867
Carrick, Cumnock & Doon Valley 1,432
Clydebank & Milngavie 1,400
Clydesdale 1,206
Coatbridge and Chryston 1,285
Cumbernauld & Kilsyth 803
Cunninghame North 1,015
Cunninghame South 1,055
Dumbarton 1,014
Dumfries 1,006
Dundee east 913
Dundee West 978
Dunfermline East 1,162
Dunfermline West 757
East Kilbride 1,033
East Lothian 1,069
Eastwood 990
Edinburgh Central 1,501
Edinburgh E & Musselburgh 2,521
Edinburgh North & Leith 1,536
Edinburgh Pentlands 1,528
Edinburgh South 1,403
Edinburgh West 1,905
Falkirk East 1,019
Falkirk West 1,157
Fife Central 1,256
Fife North East 762
Galloway and Upper Nithsdale 978
Glasgow Anniesland 1,736
Glasgow Baillieston 1,850
Glasgow Cathcart 1,717
Glasgow Govan 1,220
Glasgow Kelvin 1,195
Glasgow Maryhill 1,877
Glasgow Pollok 2,106
Glasgow Rutherglen 1,495
Glasgow Shettleston 2,035
Glasgow Springburn 1,702
Gordon 849
Greenock & Inverclyde 1,099
Hamilton North & Bellshill 1,345
Hamilton South 711
Inverness E, Nairn & Lochaber 1,249
Kilmarnock & Loudon 1,018
Kirkcaldy 954
Linlithgow 1,722
Livingston 1,634
Midlothian 1,649
Moray 1,018
Motherwell & Wishaw 970
Ochil 1,016
Orkney 285
Paisley North 667
Paisley South 1,115
Perth 878
Renfrewshire West 956
Ross Skye & Inverness W 1,419
Roxburgh & Berwickshire 599
Shetland 294
Stirling 633
Strathkelvin & Bearsden 1,098
Tayside North 1,025
Tweeddale Ettrick & Lauderdale 814
Western Isles 446
TOTAL 85,644
Source: BBC Scotland research

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