Demands for Glasgow recount as hundreds of ‘lost’ ballot papers discovered

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By Martin Kelly
 
SNP MSP James Dornan is calling on Glasgow City Council to recount ballots as soon as possible after it emerged hundreds of ballots for the Langside Ward were overlooked.
 
The ballot papers, from the Battlefield Primary, were discovered mistakenly marked as containing no votes for the Langside ward, however it emerged that the box contained 380 voter ballots.

One of the councillors returned after the count was Scottish Labour leader Johann Lamont’s husband Archie Graham.  Mr Graham was elected along with the SNP’s Susan Aitken.  However neither are thought to be affected by the discovery of the ballot papers.

Green candidate Liam Hainey is believed to be the only elected councillor who may be affected.

Mr Dornan, who was an election agent for the Langside ward, said it was “extremely disappointing” that ballots which were scanned were not included in the count and demanded an immediate explanation from Glasgow City Council.

Mr Dornan, SNP MSP for Glasgow Cathcart which includes the Langside ward, said:

“Glasgow City Council cannot delay – officials must arrange a recount immediately for the sake of the affected council candidates and the reputation of the competence of the council.

“I understand they need to go to court to get permission but Glasgow must make every effort to get a fresh and accurate result as soon as possible to ensure people have confidence in the election.

“It is extremely disappointing this has been allowed to happen and the worry is this may not be an isolated incident.

“It seems ballots were scanned but not included in the count, despite the machines being set up to prevent this. Glasgow must explain how that was allowed to happen. Did someone override the machine?

“City council chiefs must give the people of this city guarantees that Glasgow will review its procedures to ensure this hasn’t happened elsewhere.

“This ward must be recounted before the first meeting of the full council – which is set to take place next Thursday.”

The Labour run local authority is seeking court approval to look at the ballots and compare them to the known result to establish what would have happened if they had been counted.

If it appears they would have changed the result for Mr Hainey, the council will need further court approval to formally re-run the count for the whole Langside ward.

The emergence of the ballot papers follows a blunder by another Labour authority that saw inaccurate advice sent out with postal vote packs.  The blunder by North Lanarkshire council is thought to have cost £20,000 and was feared to have contributed to hundreds of spoiled ballots.