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Evidence of Vote Rigging in the Scottish Referendum

In the UK a historic referendum was held on Thursday, 18 September 2014 to decide whether Scotland should become an independent nation once more. It produced a result of 44.7% for the Yes campaign and 55.3% for the No; it couldn’t have been that much closer. But had the poll been conducted fairly?


In response to video evidence that has emerged which appears to show that cheating occurred during the vote counting process, tens of thousands of people have signed online petitions demanding a complete recount. has gathered some 99,000 supporters and has obtained 65,000 signatures. The videos in question clearly show anomalies which are difficult to 

explain away as purely careless behaviour and deliberate cheating is strongly suggested (The Guardian - Scottish referendum vote-rigging claims spark calls for recount). Scottish Referendum's online petition demanding a revote in the Scottish Referendum.

In the first of these video we see three female counters seated at a table and who are placing votes onto ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ piles directly in front of them. However it is the counter seated in the middle that is the focus of our attention. At one point during the counting process she inexplicably takes all of the votes in the ‘Yes’ pile and places them onto the ‘No’ pile while at the same time replacing the pile of ‘Yes’ votes with a single ballot paper taken from the ‘No’ pile.


In the second video we see a table clearly marked as containing stacks of ‘No’ votes but when we take a closer look two of the bundled stacks clearly have a cross next to ‘Yes’. 

Video evidence showing suspicious activity during the vote counting process. Click on Play.

In a third video we see a seated male vote counter with a small stack of ballot papers in front of him and he apparently fills out the ballot paper at the very top of the pile himself by placing a cross in the appropriate box. Having done this he then wraps the stack of ballot papers in an elastic band.


Some commentators have branded the allegations of vote rigging at the Scottish Referendum as pure ‘conspiracy theory’ (Mail Online - Russia joins online conspiracy theorists in claiming Scottish referendum was rigged...). Indeed much has been made of the circumstance that one high profile figure to speak out about the irregularities happens to be Russian. Igor Borisov, an international observer at the count and chairman of the Russian Public Institute of Suffrage, voiced his opinions that the counting process had not followed internationally accepted standards. He claimed the counting rooms were far too large such that this had made it virtually impossible to keep a close eye on all of the counters at any one time. He also claimed that the ballot boxes had not been properly monitored while being transported to the counting rooms and had not been signed for in any way.

Vote counting room in Scottish referendum

Sealed ballot boxes being transported into one of the counting rooms in the Scottish Referendum. In the photograph you can see how vast the counting room is.

However concerns were raised about possible irregularities in the referendum even before the actual voting took place (The Scotsman - Scottish independence: Vote rigging fears). It came to light that four children who were far too young to vote were sent polling cards by mistake. In one case a father had not received any polling card himself but his two children had who were aged three and five. The concern was raised that the irregularities could be exploited for the purposes of voting fraud. Indeed the situation seems to echo what had happened in the 1979 referendum on Scottish devolution where polling cards were inadvertently sent to persons no longer living.


And in actual fact identity theft for the purposes of electoral fraud appears to have been an issue in the 2014 Scottish independence referendum in any case (Express - Scottish referendum: Police investigate electoral fraud probe in Glasgow). In Glasgow ten cases were discovered where a vote was fraudulently cast in someone’s name only for the real person to show up at the polling station some time later. The matter was officially investigated by the police.   

Police presence at Scottish referendum

Police conducted a full investigation into the 10 alleged cases of electoral fraud by impersonation. The 10 suspect ballot papers were seized as part of the investigation.


It seems a little ironic that the ten cases of identity theft should be taken so seriously when the video evidence suggesting vote rigging apparently has not. Answering the allegations of vote rigging a spokesman for Mary Pitcaithly, the chief counting officer, is quoted as saying, "The chief counting officer is satisfied that all counts throughout Scotland were properly conducted and scrutinised by thousands of people representing both the Yes Scotland and the Better Together campaigns, as well as international election observers, media and police.” (BBC News - Scottish referendum: Vote counting was 'properly conducted' says counting officer)


With the petitions indicating that some 165,000 people have real concerns about the video evidence suggesting deliberate vote rigging took place and with a result that was hardly a landslide anyway with 44.7% in favour of an independent Scotland and 55.3% against, surely a complete recount would settle any doubts that there were? The question has to be asked as to why the authorities are so reluctant both to hold a complete recount and to take the video evidence seriously and to properly investigate it? 

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