Posted by: solosnowbird | October 2, 2013

Scotland’s electoral process: systems and structures

Mary Pitcaithly, Electoral Board for Scotland, Chris Highcock of Edinburgh EMB and Andy O’Neill provided the cortex of the elections, who are the players, responsibilities and voting systems used. They also provided a brief review of the Scottish referendum that will be voted on in a year.

Chris notes that the electoral commission is trying to ensure transparency, efficiency, consistency and accessibility – sound familiar? The election commission for Scotland tries do ensure the government and parliaments framework are done right.

Local authorities have appointed if a returning officer who is to carry out the election not the chief executive. The writ is ” return” to the parliament. They also appoint the registration officer who registers electors.

The electoral administration act of 2011 provided clarification that the overriding g objective to ensure that electoral votes are codices in the interest of the voter and not on vendors or the systems.

Allen clarified the make up of the current the election commission is working as a hybrid and focusing on registering 16 year olds for the referendum and marketing with ads on the Telly. The election commission are appointed by the Queen. The commission is accountable to UK parliament and not the Scottish government (which is what ever major party is in control) and only provides reports to Scottish parliament. There are currently 405 political parties in the UK and make sure they all are registered which costs £120 to register and be able to report election finance. Don’t fine people, spend a lot of time to talking with them to comply with this portion of the election. The finance reporting is available on the website.

Currently there is no limitation. On donations and the funds reported spent on campaigns are no where the level if the spending in the United States. There is no buying tv time for campaign ads and there is delivery of free election material via postal royal mail service limited one, per household not voter.

The finance piece of reporting in Scotland is very interesting and relies on self governance for reporting and only follow up upon complaint basis. If you are running for Scottish parliament , you are limited to spending £30,000. You can only spend £40,000 for UK parliament.

Ballots are counted by hand and are only in paper form for local elections. There are postal voting options, no early voting, and you must register for the option to vote by mail. The voting hours are for 7:00am to 10:00 pm.

Counting of ballots for Scottish elections was quite shocking. All ballots for elections, except for local elections who use rank voting, are counted after polls close and that is inclusive of the postal ballots- all by hand. Election results are ready the next day or two. The local elections who utilize rank voting are using electronic systems for counting.

Voter turnout is between 40-70% per election with the majority of local elections conducted by postal mail.

It sounds like everyone in the world is going to be watching the Scottish election results of September 18, 2014 due to the referendum. Certainly feel a lot of pain for those who will be counting the election results with an expectation of 80% voter turnout with 40 million registered voters.

http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/find-information-by-subject/elections-and-referendums/upcoming-elections-and-referendums/scottish-referendum

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