Increase in spoilt papers

  • Brian Taylor
  • 4 May 07, 12:47 AM

Big number of spoilt papers in Motherwell and Wishaw under the new counting system.

Some 970 invalid papers, that's 3.7% of the system.

Much more than usual in the past.

Douglas Alexander, the Scottish Secretary, says he has already requested an inquiry into apparent problems getting postal ballots out to voters.

Maybe a wider inquiry will now be needed.

Comments   Post your comment

  • 1.
  • At 12:49 AM on 04 May 2007,
  • D.Somerville wrote:

I dont think the new way of voting has been positive with the amount of differences

  • 2.
  • At 12:50 AM on 04 May 2007,
  • Jim Millar wrote:

Isn't it about time we came up with a system to allow voters to enter their votes electronically? Would certainly put an end to all this waiting around! Although in saying that, the current governments record of producing good IT systems isnt great.

  • 3.
  • At 12:50 AM on 04 May 2007,
  • Lucy Crichton wrote:

I've always though that the numbers of spoilt papers should be both counted and published within the election results because spoiling a ballot is a valid methd of protest - you're saying "I'm not apathetic, I went to the polling station but there was nothing there for me".

But it does seem like a big percentage - too much for all to be protest votes.

  • 4.
  • At 12:53 AM on 04 May 2007,
  • Chris Russell wrote:

If this is the rate on the FPTP ballot, the rate on the STV council vote could be massive.

Too many changes, not nearly enough publicity/explanations.

  • 5.
  • At 12:54 AM on 04 May 2007,
  • Paul wrote:

I have only just found out by watching TV and reading that my vote will be classed as spoiled ... I think.

i put an "X" on every ballot , i didnt put 1 , 2 ,3 on any .... i whizzed in to pollin #g station at 9.30 this morning , didnt read anything , simply chose the "logos" i liked :-) , and marked them with "x" ... one "x" on each ballot ......... mmmmmmm ...... so will my X be classed as a spoiled vote ?


  • 6.
  • At 12:56 AM on 04 May 2007,
  • duke valentino wrote:

If it wasn't broke why did they try to fix it. Fix it? Hanging chads come to Lanarkshire.
What was Jack on in that interview. He seemed to slow down for a couple of seconds. Think all these years of vacant answers have took there toll. I think Jack will crack tonight. Do a Colin Fox and jump round the room :s

  • 7.
  • At 12:58 AM on 04 May 2007,
  • Alasdair Mackenzie (18) wrote:

I resent the ageist comment about the 18 year old candidate needing his parent's permission - maybe in his old age he forgot his manners?

  • 8.
  • At 12:58 AM on 04 May 2007,
  • Exile wrote:

Jamaica voted yesterday. They too are facing new 'behaviours' associated with the ballot. One report says that folks used camera phones in the booth to record their vote then show it to folks outside the polling station to prove they voted the right way and to collect their bung.

  • 9.
  • At 01:00 AM on 04 May 2007,
  • Doug wrote:

Kelvin just announced over a thousand spoiled ballots. That's quite ridiculous. But not a surprise - I had to get a second paper after I put a cross for my council vote (I would have been okay if I'd just left it at that though).

Totally agree about the electronic voting - how do you get lazy voters to vote? Easy - bring it into their own home. Let's make voting easier than voting for X-Factor or a BBC online poll.

1000+ spoilt votes in Glasgow Kelvin!

  • 11.
  • At 01:09 AM on 04 May 2007,
  • Gordon wrote:

Huge amounts of rejected papers coming in at all these votes now, 1000+ . This is well out of line. How many of these were valid votes rejected by the machines? This is not on.

  • 12.
  • At 01:11 AM on 04 May 2007,
  • Neil McKendry wrote:

I didn't vote for anyone in my constituency, but voted in my region.

do you think the non-vote in the constituency will count as a spoilt ballot?

  • 13.
  • At 01:11 AM on 04 May 2007,
  • Sara wrote:

spoiled papers could simply be a result of electronic counting machines not being able to read them. They would need to go through them and check - and if people used the 1,2,3 they should take the 1 as their vote.

  • 14.
  • At 01:18 AM on 04 May 2007,
  • eddie r wrote:

i am of the opinion that there are so many spoiled papers due to the lack of information about the new voting system.

I made sure i found out about how to cast votes however i folded both ballots. information should have been more widely avaliable regarding this major change

  • 15.
  • At 01:21 AM on 04 May 2007,
  • Graeme wrote:


A single 'X' on the council ballot paper will be treated as a '1' for that candidate.

It will not be classed as spoiled.

  • 16.
  • At 01:27 AM on 04 May 2007,
  • Paul wrote:

Graeme ...
i would say morally you are correct ... peoples intentions by putting an X should be treated as a 1 ... HOWEVER its pretty clear from all these spoilt papers that this is not being taken as the case ?



  • 17.
  • At 01:28 AM on 04 May 2007,
  • Neil McKendry wrote:

to Paul :

all your votes should count - the X will still be counted as a 1 vote for your candidate on the council vote.

the electoral commission have guidance on their website which shows how and why to reject or accept votes if people do something wrong.

  • 18.
  • At 01:31 AM on 04 May 2007,
  • Dougie wrote:

There does seem to be an unusually high proportion of spoilt papers. The big increase must be down to either the electronic system or confusion over the voting system. Whatever it is it needs to be addressed especially if there are a lot of very close results...

  • 19.
  • At 01:35 AM on 04 May 2007,
  • John wrote:

How difficult is it to mark X on a piece of paper? But remember - you can never underestimate the intelligence of the British public. Proof? Look at the tripe they watch on TV and the "newspapers" they read.

  • 20.
  • At 01:40 AM on 04 May 2007,
  • Paul wrote:

GUys I understand what both of you are saying ..but why such a stupidly high number of rejected votes ..anniesland just announced and another 1000 rejected papers ...almost 5% of the vote ..................

I think as the night goes on your going to find the electrol officers were counting "X"s as incorrectly filled and rejecting them .... theres no other explanation for usch a huge rejection rate


In many of the interviews of voters, people have said that they are going to spoil the constituency vote and only vote in the region. Could this be the reason for the high number of spoiled votes?

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