Wednesday, 4 February 2009

Missing by election registers - surely not!

One of my branch members said to me just after the Glenrothes by-election: "I bet the marked up registers make interesting reading!".

For those who have better things to do with their lives than look at marked up registers, basically these are the originals of the electoral register that the polling agents have in the polling places. You will have seen (if you've ever voted and if you haven't, what you doing reading this blog?!) that when you give your name and address, they take a pen and ruler and score your name out on the register.

All political parties are then entitled to obtain copies of this. Actually you MAKE the copies, at least the last time I did it I had to sit in the court and physically score out each name on my duplicate of the register.

Anyway there are lots of reasons for doing this. For example, if your records show that someone who told you they intended to vote for you didn't in actual fact go out and vote at all, you might think you're better concentrating efforts next time round on those who DID vote. Or you might think you should put in more effort with this person and maybe offer them a lift next time. I'm simplifying but that's so you can see that there is a reason other than nosiness for us looking at the marked up register.

The other thing it does is tells you how many folk have voted in the constituency and that should tally up with the number of votes announced in the results on the night. If it doesn't, you'd be smelling a rat and you'd be right to.

It shouldn't have the names of dead / housebound / on holiday people scored off now should it? If it does, you'd be smelling a rat and you'd be right to.

Changed days really. Many years ago when I was young, fundie and fanatical about Independence (2 out of 3 remaining ain't so bad is it?) it was exasperating / funny / infuriating (depending on your mood) to read the registers and find (just as an example to illustrate my point - no truth whatsoever in this) that an entire homeless hostel in the middle of Glasgow had voted. 100% turnout from them which was surprising in itself given the nomadic nature of folk who are unfortunate enough to have to live in hostels. Not just surprising but really rather remarkable given that no other street / unit / area had anything like 100% turnout.

So you'd want to check the marked up register for these and other reasons. Won't be able to do that with Glenrothes now will we? Not now that they've mysteriously gone missing. Not that I'm suggesting anything underhand. I mean just because something sounds dodgy doesn't mean it IS actually dodgy. Who would have anything to hide anyway? Still, I would have preferred it if we could have checked - just to be on the safe (and legal) side. Oh listen to me going on here - Gordon Brown's Labour Party won, with a bigger majority than anyone expected and that's really an end to it. Unless of course the enquiry tells us different ...

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