View Full Version : I remember one election where they were short of votes

05-May-11, 20:38
Floating votes were put on hold

ELECTION counts are tense, exciting affairs...seeing the boxes opened and all the papers cascade onto the tables...anxious candidates hover, faces mirroring the rise or fall of bundles.
I recall one count, in Ayrshire where I worked in the early eighties. It was many moons ago and there was a little unscheduled drama.
The General Election count was in full swing at Irvine, council offices, I think.
The box in question was duly opened....but the anticipated cascade didn't materialise.
The concern wasn't that there were only a few papers, more that there were none at all. The box was EMPTY!.
You can imagine the alarm which gave way to suspicion. An investigation was carried out and there was a simple explanation. The box was one that came over on the boat from Arran.
Somehow the bottom of the box was suspect and when the box was lifted the votes were left in the hold. They were eventually located and returned to the returning officer. Whether or not it made a difference to the outcome, I can't recall.
But, I'm sure the count of the votes in the Caithness, Sutherland and Ross seat will go smoothly. Well, they don't make the boxes like they used to!
And the elections don't seem to throw up the sort of off-beat stories, they once did. I remember one staunch Liberal supporter, farmer, in the John O' Groats area pasted a "Vote for Mackie" poster on his bull. It got a little extra exposure for the party although, some opponents were quick to turn the novelty to their advantage, saying the party's policies were "a load of old bull".
Then there was the Wick voter who received a polling card but was not eligible to vote. Well, he wouldn't being only 10 years old.
Granted, these incidental nuggets, were a diversion from the mainstream party politics but electioneering can get a bit dry and dusty and a little light relief is always welcome. It was conspicious by its absence, this time around, in the Caithness, Sutherland and Ross campaigns.