View Full Version : Mystery of missing by-election records. Convenient for some one.

Magda Hassan
02-05-2009, 01:28 PM
Mystery of missing by-election records EXCLUSIVE: By Steve Bargeton, political editor
THE ONLY official record of who voted in a Westminster by-election that rocked the political world has mysteriously gone missing placing a question mark over the result.
In a surprise result in November last year, Labour won the Glenrothes by-election with a 6737 majority over the SNP.
All the major parties, including Labour on election night itself, had predicted that the nationalists would narrowly win the seat, which borders Prime Minister Gordon’s Brown’s constituency.
The Labour victory sent shockwaves through the SNP and was the catalyst for a revival of Labour’s fortunes nationally.
In December the SNP in Glenrothes applied to the sheriff court to obtain a copy of the marked electoral register—on which officials in polling stations score out voters as they register to vote. It is the official record of who presented themselves to vote.
Candidates and their agents are allowed to see a copy of the register, which records only who voted and not how they voted.
However, after repeated requests for the document last month, Councillor John Beare, the convener of the SNP Central Fife constituency, has been told that it has gone missing.
Mr Beare said he was told renovation work has been carried out at Kirkcaldy Sheriff Court and that some documentation had been removed for confidential waste disposal.
Under the present electoral arrangements, certain papers including voting papers and a copy of the marked electoral register are to be kept by the sheriff clerk for that electoral area for a year after an election.
Last night Central Fife SNP MSP Tricia Marwick said the missing record of who voted places a question mark over the result.
Asked if she suspected foul play, she said, “ No I do not. Nor do I believe it was a fair election.
“All I can say for sure is that the crucial information that proves it one way or another has gone missing.
“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.
“This is why the marked up register in this election was absolutely crucial.
“Without this register the democratic process has been undermined.
“It is vitally important that voters have confidence that the conduct of the election was fair.
“I am not saying for one minute that something untoward went on, but without the register we just don’t know.
“There must be confidence in the process.”
Mr Beare said that he leans towards a “cock-up rather than conspiracy” theory as to how the register disappeared.
“I do think in the 21st century there is a big question to be asked about how we keep our records,” he said.
A Scottish Court Service spokesman said, “We can confirm that the sheriff clerk at Kirkcaldy Sheriff Court took receipt of these items following the Glenrothes by-election in November and that the voting papers for this election, which were deposited at the same time, are available.
“This is deeply regrettable and we are investigating the circumstances relating to this loss.”
Labour candidate Lindsay Roy won the Glenrothes by-election on November 6 last year polling 19,946 votes with a 6737 majority.
SNP candidate Peter Grant, who is also leader of Fife Council, came second with 13,209 votes.
Some 52.37% of the 69,155 electorate voted.
The by-election was called after the death of MP John MacDougall who had a 10,664 majority.


David Guyatt
02-05-2009, 03:35 PM
Ho, ho, ho. Hanky-panky learned from the US electoral process no doubt.