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Last Updated: Thursday, 29 November 2007, 00:02 GMT
Elections watchdog backs reforms
Ron Gould
The commission backed Ron Gould's recommendations
Sweeping reforms to Scotland's election system have been backed by the Electoral Commission.

The commission, which scrutinises how ballots are run, said it could "see merit" in transferring control of elections from Westminster to Holyrood.

That was one of the recommendations in the Gould report, which examined the Holyrood election fiasco in May.

The results process was besieged by delays and saw more than 140,000 ballot papers rejected.

Scottish Parliament and local council elections took place on the same day using separate electoral systems.

Elections to Holyrood used a new ballot paper design and the local authority wards were allocated using a proportional representation system for the first time.

A month ago Mr Gould, a Canadian expert brought in by the Electoral Commission, said Scotland's voters were "treated as an afterthought" in the planning and organisation of the May elections.

It is vital that the voter comes first
Sir Neil McIntosh
Electoral commissioner

The commission agreed that the Scottish Parliament and local council elections should be held on separate days.

It also said there should be two separate ballot papers for Holyrood constituency and regional list votes and there must be less meddling by officials and politicians.

The Electoral Commission promised to set out new rules for ballot paper design, including how parties describe themselves.

At present, the Holyrood elections are overseen by Westminster, while the Scottish Parliament has control of local authority polls.

The commission said it would be less confusing if Holyrood ran both but it wanted to study the implications for other elections, such as Westminster and Europe.

Electoral Commissioner Sir Neil McIntosh said: "The commission welcomes the recommendations put forward by Mr Gould and we will be taking a lead in working towards solutions.

"We will be bringing together all those involved in elections to consider ways that we can improve electoral administration. It is vital that the voter comes first."

SEE ALSO
MPs begin election fiasco inquiry
12 Nov 07 |  Scotland
'I didn't nobble election expert'
28 Oct 07 |  Scotland
Alexander makes election apology
24 Oct 07 |  Scotland
Probe says May poll failed voters
23 Oct 07 |  Scotland
Reliving the election night chaos
23 Oct 07 |  Scotland
May elections review at-a-glance
23 Oct 07 |  Scotland
Ballots 'rejected automatically'
03 Sep 07 |  Scotland

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