Feeds

Voting machines ditch ballots in Scotland

Computer says no to tens of thousands of votes

Mobile application security vulnerability report

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).®

Bridging the IT gap between rising business demands and ageing tools

More from The Register

next story
Just TWO climate committee MPs contradict IPCC: The two with SCIENCE degrees
'Greenhouse effect is real, but as for the rest of it ...'
Adam Afriyie MP: Smart meters are NOT so smart
Mega-costly gas 'n' 'leccy totting-up tech not worth it - Tory MP
'Blow it up': Plods pop round for chat with Commonwealth Games tweeter
You'd better not be talking about the council's housing plans
Arrr: Freetard-bothering Digital Economy Act tied up, thrown in the hold
Ministry of Fun confirms: Yes, we're busy doing nothing
ONE EMAIL costs mining company $300 MEEELION
Environmental activist walks free after hoax sent share price over a cliff
Help yourself to anyone's photos FOR FREE, suggests UK.gov
Copyright law reforms will keep m'learned friends busy
Apple smacked with privacy sueball over Location Services
Class action launched on behalf of 100 million iPhone owners
UK government officially adopts Open Document Format
Microsoft insurgency fails, earns snarky remark from UK digital services head
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable
Learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.