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Last Updated: Thursday, 26 July 2007, 15:12 GMT 16:12 UK
Inquiry into vote fiasco delayed
Ballot paper - generic
The voting fiasco saw an estimated 140,000 rejected ballot papers
A "substantial" delay in the inquiry into the Scottish elections voting fiasco has been announced.

The leader of the investigation, elections expert Ron Gould, has told ministers he will need to interview more people than anticipated.

The decision by MPs to allow the inquiry to look at rejected ballot papers is also adding to the delay.

Mr Gould had been due to publish his report in early September, but it is not expected until late October.

The elections for Holyrood and the Scottish local authorities in May saw the introduction of a new design of ballot paper for the parliament vote and a new voting system for the council seats.

Some have blamed the redesign for the voting fiasco which saw an estimated 140,000 rejected ballot papers.

Judicial review

The Electoral Commission appointed Mr Gould - the former assistant chief electoral officer of Canada - to lead an independent inquiry into the debacle.

Last week the Scottish secretary was given powers to allow the team of election investigators to scrutinise the rejected ballot papers.

While Westminster is in charge of overseeing the Holyrood elections, the Scottish Parliament has control of the council votes.

First Minister Alex Salmond backed the move to release council ballot papers to investigators looking into the Holyrood vote.

Mr Salmond has said he wants a judicial review to be carried out into the election after the findings of the current investigation are published.


SEE ALSO
MPs allow access to ballot papers
17 Jul 07 |  Scotland
Ballot paper report at-a-glance
23 Jun 07 |  Scotland
Vote inquiry wants public views
21 May 07 |  Scotland
Clue over voter ballot confusion
15 May 07 |  Scotland
Expert to head elections review
14 May 07 |  Scotland
Rejected votes more than thought
09 May 07 |  Scotland
Election group criticises ballots
05 May 07 |  Scotland

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