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Scotland: University study finds ballot-paper design caused spoilt ballots

Scotland on Sunday reports: THE record number of spoilt votes at last month's Scottish elections were largely caused by major faults in the design of the ballot paper, according to an academic study.

Researchers at Strathclyde University have concluded that thousands of people made mistakes because they did not understand the instructions on the papers which, for the first time, asked them to mark two votes on a single sheet.

In both Glasgow and Edinburgh, some of the instructions were truncated to make room for the 23 different parties on the regional list. This, the researchers concluded, was a key reason why people got confused and spoiled their papers.

The findings, by Dr Christopher Carman and Professor James Mitchell, concluded that there were a total of 146,097 spoiled papers. This compares to just 15,107 in the 2003 election. Of Scotland's 73 constituencies, there were 16 where the winning margin was less than the number of ballots spoiled. -- Scotland on Sunday - Politics - Ballot paper design at fault for record number of spoilt votes

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