Doubtful ballots containing numbers

The request was partially successful.

Dear Electoral Commission,

Schedule 2, Paragraph 58(5) of The Scottish Parliament (Elections etc.) Order 2007 states:

"(5) Where different numbers have been written by a voter on a ballot paper apparently as a vote in a sequential order of preference, and the ballot would otherwise be rejected under this rule, the ballot shall be treated as a vote for the candidate (or in the case of a regional ballot paper, for the individual candidate or registered party) against whom the number 1 appears."

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2007/...

The introductory text of the Order states:

"The Secretary of State has consulted the Electoral Commission as required by section 7 of the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000."

This dispensation does not apply for voters in England or Wales whose ballots are discarded under the same circumstances.

I have combed the Electoral Commission's website extensively, and can find plenty of references for how the Rules apply, but very little on how they are justified.

Under the Freedom of Information Act, please can I be sent:

(1) Lists or descriptions of any datasets or samples of evidence the Electoral Commission holds or has access to concerning doubtful ballots from various parts of the country and at various times.

(2) Any summary reports or assessments of the nature and frequency of certain classes of doubtful ballots, including how to deal with them in terms of costs to the voting system or reviewing the rules.

(3) A copy of the statutory consultation that was undertaken by the Secretary of State with the Electoral Commission over The Scottish Parliament (Elections etc.) Order 2007.

Yours faithfully,

Julian Todd

Stephanie Payne, Electoral Commission

Our ref: FOI 32/11

Dear Julian Todd,

Thank you for your request under the Freedom of Information Act dated 8 May 2011 and received by the Commission on 9 May 2011.

You have requested:

Schedule 2, Paragraph 58(5) of The Scottish Parliament (Elections etc.) Order 2007 states:

"(5) Where different numbers have been written by a voter on a ballot paper apparently as a vote in a sequential order of preference, and the ballot would otherwise be rejected under this rule, the ballot shall be treated as a vote for the candidate (or in the case of a regional ballot paper, for the individual candidate or registered party) against whom the number 1 appears."

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2007/...

The introductory text of the Order states:
"The Secretary of State has consulted the Electoral Commission as required by section 7 of the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000." This dispensation does not apply for voters in England or Wales whose ballots are discarded under the same circumstances.

I have combed the Electoral Commission's website extensively, and can find plenty of references for how the Rules apply, but very little on how they are justified.

Under the Freedom of Information Act, please can I be sent:

(1) Lists or descriptions of any datasets or samples of evidence the Electoral Commission holds or has access to concerning doubtful ballots from various parts of the country and at various times.

(2) Any summary reports or assessments of the nature and frequency of certain classes of doubtful ballots, including how to deal with them in terms of costs to the voting system or reviewing the rules.

(3) A copy of the statutory consultation that was undertaken by the Secretary of State with the Electoral Commission over The Scottish Parliament (Elections etc.) Order 2007.

The Commission aims to respond to requests for information promptly and within the statutory timeframe of twenty working days.

You may expect to receive a reply sent from the Commission by 6 June 2011.

Yours sincerely,
Stephanie Payne

Stephanie Payne
Information Adviser
The Electoral Commission
3 Bunhill Row
London EC1Y 8YZ
Tel: 020 7271 0653
Fax: 020 7271 0505
www.electoralcommission.org.uk<http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/>

Make sure you are registered to vote<http://www.aboutmyvote.co.uk/>
Follow us on Twitter<http://twitter.com/ElectoralCommUK>

Democracy matters

Stephanie Payne, Electoral Commission

Our ref: FOI 32/11

Dear Julian Todd,

I am writing to apologise for the delay in replying to your Freedom of Information request received by the Commission on 9 May 2011, and to assure you that we will be providing a response as soon as possible.

The Commission aims to respond to requests for information promptly and within the statutory timeframe of twenty working days, and we regret that we haven't been able to do so in this instance.

Yours sincerely,
Stephanie Payne

Stephanie Payne
Information Adviser
The Electoral Commission
3 Bunhill Row
London EC1Y 8YZ
Tel: 020 7271 0653
Fax: 020 7271 0505
www.electoralcommission.org.uk<http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/>

Make sure you are registered to vote<http://www.aboutmyvote.co.uk/>
Follow us on Twitter<http://twitter.com/ElectoralCommUK>

Democracy matters

Stephanie Payne, Electoral Commission

2 Attachments

Our ref: FOI 32/11

Dear Julian Todd,

Thank you for your request under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 dated 8 May 2011 and received by the Electoral Commission on 9 May 2011.

The Commission aims to respond to requests for information promptly and regrets that on this occasion we have not done so.

You have requested:

Schedule 2, Paragraph 58(5) of The Scottish Parliament (Elections etc.) Order 2007 states:

"(5) Where different numbers have been written by a voter on a ballot paper apparently as a vote in a sequential order of preference, and the ballot would otherwise be rejected under this rule, the ballot shall be treated as a vote for the candidate (or in the case of a regional ballot paper, for the individual candidate or registered party) against whom the number 1 appears."

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2007/...<http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2007/...>

The introductory text of the Order states:
"The Secretary of State has consulted the Electoral Commission as required by section 7 of the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000." This dispensation does not apply for voters in England or Wales whose ballots are discarded under the same circumstances.

I have combed the Electoral Commission's website extensively, and can find plenty of references for how the Rules apply, but very little on how they are justified.

Under the Freedom of Information Act, please can I be sent:

(1) Lists or descriptions of any datasets or samples of evidence the Electoral Commission holds or has access to concerning doubtful ballots from various parts of the country and at various times.

(2) Any summary reports or assessments of the nature and frequency of certain classes of doubtful ballots, including how to deal with them in terms of costs to the voting system or reviewing the rules.

(3) A copy of the statutory consultation that was undertaken by the Secretary of State with the Electoral Commission over The Scottish Parliament (Elections etc.) Order 2007.

Our response is as follows:

(1) Lists or descriptions of any datasets or samples of evidence the Electoral Commission holds or has access to concerning doubtful ballots from various parts of the country and at various times.

The Commission holds complete or partial datasets from the elections specified below, showing the number of rejected ballot papers, including the breakdown of reasons for rejection which Returning Officers are statutorily required to report. These categories are: want of official mark; voting for more than one candidate or more candidates than permitted; writing or mark by which the voter could be identified; unmarked or void for uncertainty. Data from these elections are available either on our website at the address specified or in a file which is attached.

2003 Northern Ireland Assembly elections
http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/__... (See table on p116 of this report)
2004 European Parliament elections (UK)
http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/__... (please see table A10 on p156)
2005 general election (UK)
http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/__... (Tables 3 and 4)
2007 Scottish Parliament elections
Constituency votes
http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/__...
Regional votes
http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/__...
2007 National Assembly for Wales elections
http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/__... (Please see tab marked 'Rejected and postal.' NB we only hold data for constituency votes)

2007 local elections (England)
Summary
http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/__...

District authorities
http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/__...
Unitary authorities
http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/__...
Metropolitan Borough authorities
http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/__...
2007 local elections (Scotland)

2008 local elections (England)
Summary
http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/__...
Data by authority
http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/__...<http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/__...>
2008 local elections (Wales)

2009 local elections (England)
http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/__... (use the tabs marked 'Aggreg,' which show the data at the level of whole local authorities rather than wards)
2009 European Parliament elections (UK)

http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/__...

2010 general election (UK)

http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/__...

(2) Any summary reports or assessments of the nature and frequency of certain classes of doubtful ballots, including how to deal with them in terms of costs to the voting system or reviewing the rules.

A statistical analysis of rejected ballot papers at the 2007 Scottish Parliament elections is available on our website at:
http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/__...

We do not hold any other reports or assessments of this nature.

(3) A copy of the statutory consultation that was undertaken by the Secretary of State with the Electoral Commission over The Scottish Parliament (Elections etc.) Order 2007.

A copy of the Electoral Commission's response to the draft Scottish Parliament (Elections etc) Order 2007 is attached:
\\ECS_DATA1\xdrive\Governance\Legal work\FOI and DPA compliance\FOI Requests 2011\FOI 32 11\FOI 32 11 response to draft Scottish Parliament Order 2007.pdf<file:///\\ECS_DATA1\xdrive\Governance\Legal%20work\FOI%20and%20DPA%20compliance\FOI%20Requests%202011\FOI%2032%2011\FOI%2032%2011%20response%20to%20draft%20Scottish%20Parliament%20Order%202007.pdf>

If you are not satisfied with this response, please note that the Commission operates a review procedure, details of which can be found on the Commission website at:
http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/ab...
Please also note that if you have exhausted all internal Commission review procedures and you are still not satisfied you have the right to appeal to the Information Commissioner. Details of this procedure can be found on the ICO website: http://www.ico.gov.uk

Yours sincerely,

Stephanie Payne

Stephanie Payne
Information Adviser
The Electoral Commission
3 Bunhill Row
London EC1Y 8YZ
Tel: 020 7271 0653
Fax: 020 7271 0505
www.electoralcommission.org.uk<http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/>

Make sure you are registered to vote<http://www.aboutmyvote.co.uk/>
Follow us on Twitter<http://twitter.com/ElectoralCommUK>

Democracy matters

Stephanie Payne, Electoral Commission

3 Attachments

Dear Julian Todd,

My apologies - the link included in our answer to question 3 should have been provided as an attachment.

Here is a copy of the Electoral Commission's response to the draft Scottish Parliament (Elections etc) Order 2007:

Yours sincerely,
Stephanie Payne

Stephanie Payne
Information Adviser
The Electoral Commission
3 Bunhill Row
London EC1Y 8YZ
Tel: 020 7271 0653
Fax: 020 7271 0505
www.electoralcommission.org.uk<http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/>

Make sure you are registered to vote<http://www.aboutmyvote.co.uk/>
Follow us on Twitter<http://twitter.com/ElectoralCommUK>

Democracy matters

_____________________________________________
From: Stephanie Payne
Sent: 13 June 2011 14:56
To: '[FOI #70750 email]'
Subject: Re: Freedom of Information request - Doubtful ballots containing numbers (FOI 32/11)

Our ref: FOI 32/11

Dear Julian Todd,

Thank you for your request under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 dated 8 May 2011 and received by the Electoral Commission on 9 May 2011.

The Commission aims to respond to requests for information promptly and regrets that on this occasion we have not done so.

You have requested:

Schedule 2, Paragraph 58(5) of The Scottish Parliament (Elections etc.) Order 2007 states:

"(5) Where different numbers have been written by a voter on a ballot paper apparently as a vote in a sequential order of preference, and the ballot would otherwise be rejected under this rule, the ballot shall be treated as a vote for the candidate (or in the case of a regional ballot paper, for the individual candidate or registered party) against whom the number 1 appears."

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2007/...<http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2007/...>

The introductory text of the Order states:
"The Secretary of State has consulted the Electoral Commission as required by section 7 of the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000." This dispensation does not apply for voters in England or Wales whose ballots are discarded under the same circumstances.

I have combed the Electoral Commission's website extensively, and can find plenty of references for how the Rules apply, but very little on how they are justified.

Under the Freedom of Information Act, please can I be sent:

(1) Lists or descriptions of any datasets or samples of evidence the Electoral Commission holds or has access to concerning doubtful ballots from various parts of the country and at various times.

(2) Any summary reports or assessments of the nature and frequency of certain classes of doubtful ballots, including how to deal with them in terms of costs to the voting system or reviewing the rules.

(3) A copy of the statutory consultation that was undertaken by the Secretary of State with the Electoral Commission over The Scottish Parliament (Elections etc.) Order 2007.

Our response is as follows:

(1) Lists or descriptions of any datasets or samples of evidence the Electoral Commission holds or has access to concerning doubtful ballots from various parts of the country and at various times.

The Commission holds complete or partial datasets from the elections specified below, showing the number of rejected ballot papers, including the breakdown of reasons for rejection which Returning Officers are statutorily required to report. These categories are: want of official mark; voting for more than one candidate or more candidates than permitted; writing or mark by which the voter could be identified; unmarked or void for uncertainty. Data from these elections are available either on our website at the address specified or in a file which is attached.

2003 Northern Ireland Assembly elections
http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/__... (See table on p116 of this report)
2004 European Parliament elections (UK)
http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/__... (please see table A10 on p156)
2005 general election (UK)
http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/__... (Tables 3 and 4)
2007 Scottish Parliament elections
Constituency votes
http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/__...
Regional votes
http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/__...
2007 National Assembly for Wales elections
http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/__... (Please see tab marked 'Rejected and postal.' NB we only hold data for constituency votes)

2007 local elections (England)
Summary
http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/__...

District authorities
http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/__...
Unitary authorities
http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/__...
Metropolitan Borough authorities
http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/__...
2007 local elections (Scotland)

2008 local elections (England)
Summary
http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/__...
Data by authority
http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/__...<http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/__...>
2008 local elections (Wales)

2009 local elections (England)
http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/__... (use the tabs marked 'Aggreg,' which show the data at the level of whole local authorities rather than wards)
2009 European Parliament elections (UK)

http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/__...

2010 general election (UK)

http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/__...

(2) Any summary reports or assessments of the nature and frequency of certain classes of doubtful ballots, including how to deal with them in terms of costs to the voting system or reviewing the rules.

A statistical analysis of rejected ballot papers at the 2007 Scottish Parliament elections is available on our website at:
http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/__...

We do not hold any other reports or assessments of this nature.

(3) A copy of the statutory consultation that was undertaken by the Secretary of State with the Electoral Commission over The Scottish Parliament (Elections etc.) Order 2007.

A copy of the Electoral Commission's response to the draft Scottish Parliament (Elections etc) Order 2007 is attached:
\\ECS_DATA1\xdrive\Governance\Legal work\FOI and DPA compliance\FOI Requests 2011\FOI 32 11\FOI 32 11 response to draft Scottish Parliament Order 2007.pdf<file:///\\ECS_DATA1\xdrive\Governance\Legal%20work\FOI%20and%20DPA%20compliance\FOI%20Requests%202011\FOI%2032%2011\FOI%2032%2011%20response%20to%20draft%20Scottish%20Parliament%20Order%202007.pdf>

If you are not satisfied with this response, please note that the Commission operates a review procedure, details of which can be found on the Commission website at:
http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/ab...
Please also note that if you have exhausted all internal Commission review procedures and you are still not satisfied you have the right to appeal to the Information Commissioner. Details of this procedure can be found on the ICO website: http://www.ico.gov.uk

Yours sincerely,

Stephanie Payne

Stephanie Payne
Information Adviser
The Electoral Commission
3 Bunhill Row
London EC1Y 8YZ
Tel: 020 7271 0653
Fax: 020 7271 0505
www.electoralcommission.org.uk<http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/>

Make sure you are registered to vote<http://www.aboutmyvote.co.uk/>
Follow us on Twitter<http://twitter.com/ElectoralCommUK>

Democracy matters

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