Friday, 22 January 2016

DSF report on vote rigging.

I am writing a blog to discuss the video immediately below, and the report featured with it.


The presenter here, Andy Anderson, is putting forward the idea that the Scottish referendum on Independence from the United Kingdom was rigged by MI5. The points he is making are two fold. One major and one minor:

1: Major point: That the referendum had an unusually, perhaps impossibly high vote turnout on the Scots Independence Referendum and that these results pushed the referendum to a 'no'. That the 'no' vote was extremely highly made up of postal voting. ('No' to independence)

2: Minor point: That two major figures in British politics, stated ahead of time that the vote had swung towards a 'no', and that these individuals could not have known through conventional means that this was the case.

Andy writes partly from his experience as being a counting officer.


1: A) Statistics:

The voter turnout on the referendum postal vote was 96.4%. This is higher than even the most daring rigged votes. (12 minutes)

The postal votes were about 70% in favour of No. While in the polling stations were very high in favour of 'Yes'. Essentially these two different categories of voting had very different results (10 min)

There is information to show that higher postal voting correlated with a 'no' vote. (21 min)

Written up in their report on pages 13 - 15, is a segment on disproving the possibility of a postal vote having a 96.4% turnout. For the constituency of Argyll and Bute, the PB was 14,409, which means 527 voters used postal voting (So, in way of explanation, 3.6% of 14,409 is 518, perhaps Andy is using more decimal places). Since this electoral register was a year out of date, the author then proves that in the average year more than 527 voters would no longer be available for voting due to differing circumstances such as death, dementia, prison, moving house etc.

Conservative figures from this author, (VERY conservative, which seemed to halve the numbers of possible not able to vote individuals for no clear reason at times) place the numbers that would not have been able to vote despite being on the electoral register at 743.

B) Testing the figures (31 mins):

Andy conducted his own experiment. I will describe it here while acknowledging it's perhaps slight methodological inefficiency. This process is also explained in this brief video about the 2015 UK election.

He asked individuals informally to tell him of family members that they were fairly sure had not voted. Then he gained access to the electoral data to see if they had been recorded as doing so. They had many people but created only two lists, of 20 one of polling station people (control) and one of postal voting people.

From the polling vote data he found that 30% of these had in fact voted. But out of the postal ballot they found that almost all of them, (more than 75%) had apparently voted.

2: People that know more than they should:

While Andy was waiting for the votes to arrive to be counted, Ruth Davidson was on the BBC explaining that the results was 'No', afterward she had to come up with a ridiculous story about how she knew this, this is a major well known point for some Scots that was aired on national TV!.

Four days before the vote, John McTernan, a politician known to be close to MI5 (41 min) said the same thing and specified that the vote would be swung by a strong postal vote.

3: Small additional point:

Additionally, Andy noticed and found suspicious that there was no exit poll.

Argument and Summary:

The argument put forward by Andy is that MI5 simply pulled up the postal vote ballot and printed the slips off for a 'No' vote.

The vote counting apparently took part over 9 days with breaks in between so it was three sets of 3 days. This gave anyone rigging the vote plenty of time to take figures for who had voted and hadn't and send additional votes. (So there was no crossover, i.e. people didn't turn up having already had their votes cast.)

(Later update 31/01: I wrote to the electoral commission about this and they wrote back a reply that responded in informative but broad terms and didn't address the substance of Mr Andersons argument IMO.)

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