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Rejected ballot papers in the 2007 Scottish Parliament election: the voters' perspective

Denver, D. and Johns, R.A. and Carman, C.J. (2009) Rejected ballot papers in the 2007 Scottish Parliament election: the voters' perspective. British Politics, 4 (1). pp. 3-21. ISSN 1746-918X

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Abstract

Although there were a number of other administrative problems, the unusually large number of ballots rejected in the 2007 Scottish Parliament elections attracted considerable media interest and comment and provoked a special enquiry by the Electoral Commission. It is generally accepted that the new design of the ballot paper was the major factor in causing problems and that these problems were greatest in less well-off areas. So far, however, little attention has been paid to the views and perceptions of electors, especially with reference to the question of the legitimacy of elections. Analysis of specially collected survey data shows that the voters recognised that there were serious problems in the elections and, although offering a variety of explanations, tended to blame the authorities. Trust in the fairness of the electoral process has been reduced by the experience and this may result in reduced voter participation in future.