Ron Gould’s Report

Tuesday, October 23rd, 2007 @ 9:21PM

Apparently, according to both Andrew Castle on BBC News 24 and Reporting Scotland the two biggest reasons why there were so many spoiled ballots in May were 1) the design of the ballot papers and 2) the fact that the elections for the Scottish Parliament and Local Government were held on the same day.

No mention of the fact that report clearly states that the issue of “sloganisation” and “naming strategies” such as Alex Salmond for First Minister were largely to blame for a large proportion of the spoiled ballots.

I read the report this morning simply because I have a broad interest in Electoral Reform - my masters dissertation was on the impact of stv for local governmen elections on turnout and public participation amongst other things. The full report is 128 pages long and covers a lot of ground which a 4 page press release does not - the BBC would do well to note that.

In fact the report recognises that 75% of all Scottish Parliament spoilt ballots were spoiled because only one part of the paper was completed. Ron Gould suggests that because Alex Salmond’s name was on the regional ballot - people were confused and didn’t know what they were voting for.

The report also says that descriptions on ballot papers should be restricted to the name of the registered political party only. The same position proposed by the Electoral Commission during the passage of the Electoral Administration Act 2006.

Ron Gould is absolutely right to say that the voter was treated as an “after thought” and that there are many people to blame for the cock up that was the 2007 Election. I just felt the need to clarify that Alex Salmond is one of them.

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Categories: PR and Voting Reform, Scottish Parliament Election 2007

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