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Report into May election problems
First Minister Alex Salmond responded to the report into the problems experienced on 3 May in the Scottish Parliamentary Elections, which were under the responsibility of the Scotland Office.
Mr Salmond said:
"I welcome this report into how the problems experienced on 3 May came about. It raises extremely serious issues.
"In the organising of the election, Ron Gould concludes that the Scotland Office and the then Scottish Executive frequently focused on 'partisan political interests', and overlooked those of the voter, which is a damning indictment.
"And he recommends discussions to assign responsibility for Holyrood and Council elections to one body in the future, and suggests that the Scottish Government would be the 'logical choice'.
"Another issue is ensuring that local issues get a chance to be heard in elections to local government, by decoupling Council from Scottish Parliament elections.
"The Cabinet will discuss the Gould Report in detail this afternoon, in order to take the many important matters in the report forward."
Responsibility for electoral policy and law in Scotland is split between the Scottish Government and the UK Government. Policy and law relating to elections to the Scottish Parliament rests with the UK Government and is handled by the Scotland Office in cooperation with the Ministry of Justice. Policy and law for Scottish local government elections is the responsibility of the Scottish Government.
The Electoral Commission has a statutory duty to report on the administration of the Scottish Parliament elections. The elections in May 2007 combined a general election to the Scottish Parliament with full elections to all 32 Scottish Local Authorities. In view of the synchronized elections, the Electoral Commission asked by the Scottish Government to report (at the same time)on the Scottish local government elections.
In view of the concerns following the May 2007 elections, the Electoral Commission decided to expand its report to include a full, independent review of the elections in Scotland. In particular the independent review proposed to look at the number of rejected ballots; the electronic counting process; and the arrangements for postal voting. Ron Gould was appointed by the Electoral Commission to head the review.