Feeds

Voting machines ditch ballots in Scotland

Computer says no to tens of thousands of votes

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

More than seventy thousand votes in the recent Scottish elections were rejected by the electronic counting machines, with no human oversight.

The news has dismayed observers, with new First Minister Alex Salmond describing the news as "astonishing", and deeply disturbing. He told the BBC that he had been under the impression that all discounted ballots were checked by a person.

The discovery of the automatic discounting of votes was uncovered in a BBC investigation. The organisation says the Scotland Office ordered certain types of ballot papers should be automatically rejected as spoilt by the counting machines.

If a ballot had a mark in one column, but no mark in the other, the machines were instructed to count the visible vote and discard the other one. Then the ballot papers were to be filed alongside all the others.

In total, 140,000 ballots were logged as spoilt. The BBC says more than half of these were rejected by the machines, with no chance for a person to judge whether or not the ballot was actually spoilt.

Opposition MPs have piled in to denounce the set up. The Tory party condemned the Scotland Office for being slow to release the information.

Shadow Scottish secretary David Mundell said: "Rather than putting their hands up and saying 'we made a complete hash of this and we apologise to the people of Scotland', they've just continued to show arrogance and contempt, as if somehow it was nothing to do with them."

The Lib Dems chimed in, saying that a returning officer should have had oversight, and made the final decision.

The BBC investigation will be shown on Newsnight Scotland tonight (Monday 3 September).®

SANS - Survey on application security programs

More from The Register

next story
Did a date calculation bug just cost hard-up Co-op Bank £110m?
And just when Brit banking org needs £400m to stay afloat
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
Lavabit loses contempt of court appeal over protecting Snowden, customers
Judges rule complaints about government power are too little, too late
MtGox chief Karpelès refuses to come to US for g-men's grilling
Bitcoin baron says he needs another lawyer for FinCEN chat
Don't let no-hire pact suit witnesses call Steve Jobs a bullyboy, plead Apple and Google
'Irrelevant' character evidence should be excluded – lawyers
EFF: Feds plan to put 52 MILLION FACES into recognition database
System would identify faces as part of biometrics collection
Whoever you vote for, Google gets in
Report uncovers giant octopus squid of lobbying influence
Putin tells Snowden: Russia conducts no US-style mass surveillance
Gov't is too broke for that, Russian prez says
Ex-Tony Blair adviser is new top boss at UK spy-hive GCHQ
Robert Hannigan to replace Sir Iain Lobban in the autumn
Alphadex fires back at British Gas with overcharging allegation
Brit colo outfit says it paid for 347KVA, has been charged for 1940KVA
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a defence for mobile apps
In this whitepaper learn the various considerations for defending mobile applications; from the mobile application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies needed to properly assess mobile applications risk.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.