Some people wonder what the Scotland Office is for these days. Obviously they are looking for stuff to do, so have been busybodying with this e-counting stuff. The e-counting systems might have been desirable for the local councils, but they did not need to be used for the Scottish Parliament elections.
I was feeling a small amount of sympathy for the poor electorate, expected to cope with oh-so-many ballot papers, until I saw a photo of the ballot sheet (or rather a photo of the poster explaining the ballot sheet). Honestly, it’s not that difficult.* Maybe they could have hired some expensive design agency to make the parliament ballot a little clearer (maybe some dozy-brains didn’t register the split arrow), but that poster is education enough not to screw up.If you’ve made the effort to go out and vote, surely you’re invested enough in the process to make the even smaller effort to read the instructions. I don’t think the blame can be laid on the Westminster or Scottish Parliaments (maybe apart from the decision to have both local and Holyrood elections on the same day). More and earlier voter education? Maybe not. A redesign of the ballot sheets? Ach, I hope they’re going to have a good look at the spoiled ballots and work out what went wrong or there’s no point in suffrage and we’ll have to start testing voters for mental competency before elections.** Ha.
*I would be interested to learn how many of those were true protest votes or if anyone scribbled stuff like “anyone but labour” or crap like that. Don’t waste your vote, dammit. At least vote for some small crappy party if you don’t like the major ones.
**Disclaimer. Joking, OK? Not proposing this or calling the electorate stupid. Maybe a little bit lazy or dozy or confused, but not stupid. I pretty much agree with what was said here.
Mair on the sorry tale. I like this interpretation :
Electoral systems suffer the same problems as bad software – they are dominated by geeks with no understanding that users have to be able to understand the system you are designing and bolt on a shoddy interface as an afterthought – and by marketing departments/politicians who have a very different agenda from the rest of the industry and force bad design decisions from the word go. (via)
The revelation that the Scotland Office were advised not to hold both elections on the same day is no surprise to me. A department controlled by a party that started its first few years in government spinning and managing the media will take any little advantage they can get to stay in power. Another example of disgusting NuLab behaviour.