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.
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.”