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Hebrides News


Voting irregularities allegations over Crofting Commission elections

17 March 2017

The outgoing convenor of the Crofting Commission has made allegations about the way the election for new board members to the government agency was conducted.

Colin Kennedy lost a bid for re-election as a commissioner by two votes.

He told Hebrides News he is very concerned about postal ballots which he said should have arrived by post yet displayed no Royal Mail stamp mark.



Colin Kennedy

The count took place in Stornoway Town Hall

“Consistency in the form of rejection of (ballot) papers containing xs, crosses and figures on them” raise further concerns as “I thought it was considerably slanted in a particular direction.”

Mr Kennedy said he intends to pursue the matter.

Colin Kennedy initially scored the highest number of votes - 165 votes - of all five candidates in the South West Highlands area - at the first stage of the ballot which was held under the Alternative Voting system where the voter ranked candidates in order of preference.

He still held the lead throughout the next two levels.

But rival Billy Neilson narrowly squeezed through at the fourt stage, knocking out Mr Kennedy .

By the end, Mr Neilson gained 201 votes compared to 199 for Mr Kennedy.

Returning Officer, Derek MacKay, rejected the allegations.


Mr MacKay insisted: “I am confident that the election was carried out properly and in accordance with the relevant legislation.”

The elections were administered by Comhairle nan Eilean Siar on behalf of the Scottish Government and the Crofting Commission.


All bodies previously said they would “ensure a free, transparent and fair election process and to encourage a diverse range of candidates and high voter turnout.”