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Election recount for Glasgow after votes in ballot box not included

There could be a re-count of the votes cast in the city's Langside ward.

Ballot boxes in Edinburgh for the general election. Polling place.
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Glasgow City Council is set to hold a recount for a city ward after it emerged hundreds of votes cast had not been included in the official count.

The mistake came to light after the Battlefield Primary ballot box in Langside was registered as having no votes.

It is thought that the box contains around 385 votes, which although scanned and registered, were not added to the final tally.

The missing votes could be enough to change the overall result for the ward.

Glasgow City Council is now seeking court approval to look at the votes and hold a recount.

Susan Aitken, SNP, Archie Graham of Labour and Liam Hainey of the Scottish Green Party were all elected last week.

It is understood that the "missing" votes would not affect the result for Councillor Aitken or Councillor Graham.

But Councillor Hainey could have his seat taken off of him in the recount.

George Black, the returning officer, met the elected members from Langside on Thursday morning and briefed them on the mistake. He has also written to all the candidates who stood in the ward and his staff have contacted them by telephone.

Councillor Hainey was elected at the eighth stage of the voting process. He was followed closely behind by the SNP's Alex Hewetson and the Conservative candidate Russell Maitland Munn.

The ward is also where the Liberal Democrat leader in Glasgow, Paul Coleshill, lost his seat. He could also be in the running again.

A Scottish Green Party spokesman said: "We were delighted with the election of Liam Hainey in Langside and the uncertainty which voters and councillors now face is in nobody's interest.

"We will want a full statement of the reasons for this incident and we hope to see Liam confirmed as Green councillor for the ward so that he can get on with his work representing the community."

Speaking of the missing votes, Mr Coleshill said: "Clearly there was a mistake in the process. Clearly the chief returning officer didn't do his job or one of his agents.

"There was talk of having the recount on Thursday which is absurd as the first full council meeting is that day.

"I ought not to be amazed by the things that happen. I'm just astounded that in a country that prides itself on very careful election procedures that they could overlook 385 ballot papers.

"It does throw into question every other result."

SNP MSP James Dornan is calling on Glasgow City Council to recount ballots as soon as possible.

Mr Dornan, who was an election agent for the Langside ward, said it was “extremely disappointing” that ballots which were scanned were not included in the count and demanded an immediate explanation from Glasgow City Council.

Mr Dornan said: "Glasgow City Council cannot delay – officials must arrange a recount immediately for the sake of the affected council candidates and the reputation of the competence of the council.

"I understand they need to go to court to get permission but Glasgow must make every effort to get a fresh and accurate result as soon as possible to ensure people have confidence in the election.

"It is extremely disappointing this has been allowed to happen and the worry is this may not be an isolated incident."

A council spokesman confirmed that it is only one ballot box that had been affected and the rest of the results in the city still stand.

Returning officer George Black apologised for concerns raised by the incident. He said: "It is therefore my intention to enter those ballot papers into the system and rerun the calculation to ensure that the result is accurate.

"I am currently investigating how this mistake happened. Obviously I will keep you updated as more information becomes available.

"However, as the returning officer I am responsible for the running of the election and the count and I want to take this opportunity to apologise to you for any concern this will cause."

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