Our parliamentary elections here in Scotland have become headline news, as has my local constituency in particular.
On Thursday we went to the Polls to vote for our Constituency MSP, our regional MSP and our councillor. The problems began at the polling stations as people failed to comprehend the system for voting. The Parliament has a system of first past the post for the constituency MSP, a system of PR known as the additional members list system for the regional MSP's and a brand new system of the Single Transferable vote for the council elections. On the Parliamentary ballot sheet 2 X's were required one in each of the two sections and on the council ballot , 1,2,3,4 were to be used to indicate preference. There had been objections to both the parliamentary and the council elections being held on the same day but the decision was taken to run them. The result was that around 100,000 papers were deemed 'spoiled' and not counted, this coupled with 'missing' postal ballots has led to a large number of people who bothered to vote being disenfranchised. An appalling state of affairs. The problems didnt end there however. At this election it was also decided to use a new electionic system to count the votes - a sort of machine which scans the ballot papers and counts the votes - part of the reason given for this was that holding both the parliamentary and the council elections on the same day would mean it would take much longer to get the results counted. In some areas these machines failed and as a result some of the counts were halted. Add to all this fog halting the flights of helicopters delivering ballot boxes from the Islands and also the boat bringing the ballots from Arran to the mainland breaking down in the Clyde and you have what amounted to an electoral disaster. A member of the public also managed to cause some chaos in Edinburgh when he entered a polling station and proceeded to smash ballot boxes and tear up completed ballot papers - leaving staff to spend hour upon hour attempting to fix the ballot papers with sellotape!