The referendum’s going to be rigged! (not)


Source: Electoral Commission

I feel I exist in three worlds at the moment

  • My everyday life, where I see everyone going about their normal day to day activities with only the occasional sticker on a car or in a window to show there’s a referendum campaign underway
  • The official campaigns themselves, by turn repetitious, tetchy, combative, but also fundamentally important and, at their best, enlightening
  • The febrile online world of social media, where all sorts of weirdness and abuse can happen.

Part of the online weirdness is the conspiracy theory, although of course if you believe in that sort of stuff you will shake your head knowingly at my naivety in characterising it as weird.

One conspiracy theory that seems to have gained ground in the last few days is that the referendum itself will somehow be rigged. I won’t cite the various social media where this belief emerges but it usually appears in the form that ‘they’ will ferry in people to vote who shouldn’t, fiddle the postal votes, stuff ballot boxes, rig the count, change people’s ballot papers from ‘Yes’ to a ‘No,’ and so on.

Most of this emerges from people who say they’re going to vote ‘Yes’ and I can understand, in a certain mind set, how that might be in the wake of the Salmond-Darling debate and a number of polls that show the ‘Yes’ campaign isn’t doing too well. But I knew the theory had well and truly taken hold when someone who’s going to vote ‘No’ said they weren’t filling in their ballot paper in pencil in case their ‘X’ was changed.

Here’s the truth.

You’re all bonkers.

If there’s one thing I would wager my modest life savings on it is that the referendum poll will be conducted with the utmost probity.

I say this as someone who worked in local government for many years and toiled occasionally as a foot soldier in the regular elections that council chief executives organise for their areas. I was a polling clerk, I counted votes, and once when there was a cock up (sorry, administrative error – it was actually caused by a commercial printer) I spent a happy day sorting and delivering poll cards for various isolated cottages and farms in the North East.

I also worked for a chief executive who took his role as returning officer very seriously, as I believe they all do.

If you’re shaking your head wisely and murmuring ‘Ah, yes, but he would say that, wouldn’t he?’ check out the Electoral Commission’s Scottish referendum web site. You’ll find everything there that should convince you the referendum will be run on exemplary lines.

If you’re really suspicious and want to check out how the votes are being counted (‘Ooh, look, did that dodgy guy with the MI5 badge just stuff 20 “Yes” votes in his trouser pocket?’) you can apply to be an observer at the count. Go on, do it, allay your paranoia.

And if you still think the whole thing’s a giant conspiracy by the establishment I can only offer you the traditional Scottish advice

Awa an’ boil yer heid.

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4 Responses to The referendum’s going to be rigged! (not)

  1. andymack24 says:

    Wow, you are so naive. If Scotland wins independence out of this vote, it will be a miracle because this vote will ABSOLUTELY be rigged. If the pro-Union “No” vote prevails, it will be trumpeted in the mainstream media as a victory by a hair’s breadth – 51 to 49.


    • Roger White says:

      You obviously haven’t read my post properly and I suspect have no experience in the administration of UK elections. Whatever the result of the referendum (even if it’s not what I want) I have absolutely no doubt it will have been properly conducted. And I’m not naive.


    • andymack24 says:

      Putting aside my brash manner for a moment, there are material, serious problems with the manner in which ballots are conducted in the United Kingdom, as well as here in Australia, where I live, which is part of the Commonwealth under the authority of the monarchy.

      Problem number 1: The rolls of voter names and addresses are maintained in hard-copy at multiple locations where people can vote instead of in one central, computerised database that the electoral officials at these locations access. This means that if a voter has the option of placing their vote at more than one location, they can exploit that to vote more than once and have their name marked off the roll at more than one location before they vote.

      It is logistically impractical for the electoral officials to check whether a voter has voted more than once since the rolls that record who has voted are maintained in hard-copy.

      The reason that the rolls are maintain in hard-copy at multiple locations is to allow the possibility of people voting more than once and therefore fraudulently influencing the result of the referendum.

      Problem number 2: Voters don’t have to present identification to confirm their identity before they vote. This means that if voter ABC has the option of voting at locations A and B, voter ABC could vote at location A and voter XYZ could pretend to be voter ABC and vote at location B, in addition to voter XYZ placing his or her vote under their own name of XYZ. The reason that this is possible is that voters don’t have to present identification before they vote and because the rolls of voter names and addresses are maintained in hard-copy at multiple voting locations instead of in one central, computerised database, so that it is logisitically impractical for the electoral officials at location B to check whether voter ABC has already voted at location A when voter XYZ appears at location B pretending to be voter ABC.

      The reason that they don’t have to confirm their identity is that this lack of control allows people to assume the identity of people who have already voted and vote more than once in order to fraudulently influence the result of the referendum.

      The Scottish referendum will be rigged, just like every election and referendum in Commonwealth countries under the authority of the monarch that has ever been held.


      There is absolutely no doubt whatsoever that the “Yes” campaign has the lead in the lead-up to this referendum, however it will take a miracle for the “Yes” campaign to win this referendum.

      Do you really think that the monarchy is just going to roll over and let Scotland go after having it in its control for 300 years? I trust that you are fully aware of the animosity that exists between the English and the Scots as a result of the condescending manner in which the English have historically treated the Scots.

      If Scotland wins this referendum for independence, it will spell nothing less that the frustration of plans to establish global government.

      Andrew Mackinnon


      • Andrew Bardsley says:

        There are so many inaccuracies in the above drivel, it becomes a pointless exercise to reply, because no matter what is said, you won’t believe it. Please, please, stay in Aus, where you can’t do much harm!


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