It’s been widely reported that the Sheriff Court in Kirkcaldy has managed to lose the official electoral register from the Glenrothes by-election in November last year. The register lists all the names of who voted, at which polling stations (but not how they voted), and is meant to be kept for a year, and made open for inspection. The SNP made repeated requests to see it, starting in November shortly after the election, and it’s taken until now for the Sheriff’s office to admit they don’t have it.
SNP MSP Tricia Marwick said:
“It is almost beyond belief that a by-election which attracted media coverage throughout the UK, which delivered a surprise result and had a much higher turnout than anticipated now has no records to show who actually voted.
“I have no evidence of foul play. I sincerely hope not. But the turnout at this by-election surprised everyone and the result was a surprise.“
Without coming straight out and saying it, it sounds to me like she’s hinting that the election might have been rigged; without the register they’ll never know. Lindsay Roy say they’d be happy for a recount, because the ballot papers haven’t been lost. However there’s no way of telling who voted without the register, so the ballots could have been rigged by registering multiple false names on the electoral register (for instance).
The Courier are reporting Marwick’s statement slightly differently:
Asked if she suspected foul play, she said, “No I do not. Nor do I believe it was a fair election“.
Of course that implies some level of Machiavellian plotting from all involved; the Labour politicians not only managing to pinch the election, but also to collaborate with someone in the sheriff court to steal and destroy the evidence. Incredibly unlikely, it’s almost guaranteed to be pure incompetence on the parts of someone in the courts. Sounds like the register’s been chucked into their secure paper disposal bucket.
On the other hand, this is just yet another public sector loss of important data, and the Information Commissioner should issue an enforcement notice against the Scottish Courts Service. Not just for the loss, but also the lateness in admitting they’d lost it.
- The Times: Official Glenrothes by-election results ‘lost’
- Telegraph: SNP demands inquiry into missing Glenrothes by-election records
- Courier: Full inquiry into missing by-election record
- BBC: By-election registers go missing
- The Herald: Demand for inquiry as Glenrothes by-election register is lost
Also reported in The Spoof: Mugabe: Brown an ‘Excellent Student’
Mr Mugabe said, “Mr Brown has been an excellent student, for a colonialist. He quickly learned the rules of ‘Banana-Republic’ electioneering and, with my help, he ensured that Glenrothes, [population of 47,000] had 1.2 million registered postal voters, all of whom voted Labour“.