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BBC Scotland's Penny Macmillan
"There has been fierce criticism of the ballot"
 real 28k

Saturday, 6 May, 2000, 17:22 GMT 18:22 UK
Section 28 vote dubbed a farce
Bin the Ballot
People took part in a ceremonial "bin the ballot"
The running of a private vote testing pubic opinion on the repeal of Section 28 has been condemned as farcical.

Critics say thousands of people have received no ballot papers while others have been posted dozens.

Campaign group Keep the Clause - which is in favour of retaining the law banning the promotion of homosexuality as an accepted family relationship - has spent 1m on the mass canvass.

The ballot papers have been dropping through letterboxes for several days now and is being targeted at Scotland's four million electorate.

The ballot is being run along very professional lines by one of the most experienced returning officers in the UK

Media House, PR company for ballot
Some critics are saying that the electoral roll the ballot is based on is so out of date it would make voting a nonsense.

It is understood that at least 19% of those on 1998 roll acquired by Keep the Clause are now living at other addresses.

The outdate statistics also mean that those who have recently turned 18 will not be included in the vote.

Wrong addresses

It has also been claimed that several hundred were delivered to Edinburgh University's Pollock Halls of Residence addressed to students who have long since moved on.

The university confirmed there was evidence of papers with incorrect addresses but it was impossible to put a figure on it.

Brian Souter
Brian Souter: Funding the ballot
The general secretary of the Scottish TUC Bill Spiers, who has not received a voting slip, said the ballot was rapidly becoming a farce.

However, Media House, the PR company running the Keep the Clause campaign, insists the ballot's being run along very professional lines by one of the most experienced Returning Officers in the UK.

In a statement on Saturday, a spokesman for Media House said: "The ballot is being run along very professional lines by one of the most experienced returning officers in the UK and a very reputable polling company, ICM, which has formulated the wording on the ballot form so it is completely impartial."

Gay and lesbian campaigners ceremonially binned their ballot forms in Edinburgh on Saturday, saying the vote was deeply flawed.

The Scottish Executive has already begun the process of repealing Section 28 and hopes the public will ignore any forms dropping being delivered to them.

Results of the poll, being funded largely by Scottish transport tycoon Brian Souter, are due to be announced at the end of the month.

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See also:

07 May 00 | Scotland
March for Section 28 repeal
03 May 00 | Scotland
Section 28 ballot papers issued
27 Apr 00 | Scotland
Section 28 repeal under way
17 Apr 00 | Scotland
Souter presses on with poll
31 Mar 00 | Scotland
Souter poll hits major setback
28 Mar 00 | Scotland
Delay for Souter's Section 28 poll
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