POLITICS

Scottish Referendum Count In Glasgow Investigated For 10 Cases Of Suspected Electoral Fraud

19/09/2014 01:34 BST | Updated 19/09/2014 01:59 BST

Officials at the referendum count in Glasgow are investigating 10 cases of suspected electoral fraud at polling stations. Glasgow City Council said police had been called earlier today. They said it related to possible cases of impersonation, where people pretend to be someone else, cast the vote, then the real person turned up to vote.

Stewart Hosie, SNP Treasury spokesman at Westminster, said it was "very sad that people feel the need to engage in any kind of impersonation". He told Sky News: "I think that's a daft thing to do. The ballot papers have been identified, they will be taken away and fingerprinted, the police will do their job and I'm sure whoever has done it will be caught and sentenced. That's the correct procedure. It won't change the result but of course it shouldn't have happened, it is a silly, silly, thing for anyone to try to do."

Colin Edgar, the spokesman for Glasgow City Council's chief executive, told Sky News: "We have heard over the course of the day that people turned up at the polling station to vote and they appear to have voted already. This is called impersonation, if it turns out to be what it actually is.

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"What is happening tonight is we know which boxes those votes went into and we know the numbers on the votes. The police have asked us to identify those votes, to take them away, keep them for evidence and hand them to them. Somebody turned up to vote, they gave their name, the presiding officer went to cross off their name on the list of voters to give them a ballot paper and found the name had already been crossed off and a ballot paper had already been issued to someone who apparently had the same name."

Mr Edgar said it is possible because UK law does not demand that voters present identification when they attend a polling station. But he added: "We will find the ballot papers tonight, they will be kept safe and secure and they will be given to Police Scotland to form part of the investigation. We have had 10 reports today. You would find evidence of it immediately when you went to cross a name off the voters list. I don't have any evidence of it happening elsewhere. What I know is it appears to have happened in Glasgow and we are working with the police."

Counters are wearing gloves to prevent their fingerprints being left on the papers, Mr Edgar said. A Glasgow City Council press spokeswoman said: "The ballot paper is obviously in the ballot box so police are called and they have to locate the ballot paper. The original ballot paper is fished out but remains part of the count until police prove fraud has taken place.

"It's taken out and put into an evidence bag and given to the police. There's a possibility of 10 cases across polling stations. Police were called and that's being investigated now." The ballot paper is searched for using blue gloves to preserve the evidence. The real voter is given a special vote which is not included in the count until fraud is proven, she said.

Scottish Referendum