THOUSANDS of people in Glasgow did not have their vote counted last week.

Their ballot papers were rejected at the council election count, on Friday at the Emirates Arena, because they were not filled in correctly.

Across the city’s 23 wards there were a total of 4870 rejected ballots.

Most of them, it appeared, had tried to make legitimate choices but because the ballot paper was filled out wrongly, they could not be counted.

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In the Single Transferable Vote system, voters are asked to put numbers against their preferred candidates, ranking in order starting with 1.

However, some were marked with a cross against two or three candidates, meaning it was impossible for the returning officer to decide which was the order of preference.

Similarly, there were many cases were people put a 1 next to multiple candidates and they too could not be accepted.

Across the city, 80% of the rejected papers were because the voter had marked more than one first preference, meaning almost 4000 votes did not count for this reason.

In some wards, were the result was close, it could have changed the outcome or given those elected a bigger share of the vote.

The highest rejected ballots in the city was in Canal ward, which takes in Possilpark, Ruchill, Milton and Parkhouse. It had 346 rejected papers, almost 6% of all votes cast.

Other areas with a high rate were Southside central, with 296 and Garscadden/Scotstounhill 293, Pollok, 269 and East Centre, 268.

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At the other end the areas with lower rejected papers were in more affluent areas and

The lowest number was in Hillhead with 73 papers, Victoria Park with 84, both arounf jsut 1% and Partick East/Kelvindale had 133.

One of the councillors elected in Canal is concerned that voters are being denied their vote and is calling for the Electoral Commission to take action.

Allan Gow, SNP councillor, who was re-elected last week, said: “Surely the time has come to begin to engage with those who are making an effort to participate in democracy by actually voting but are misunderstanding how to do it - despite the efforts of parties, candidates, polling agents, polling clerks etc, etc.

“There is a unique opportunity afforded by the electronic system to let these voters know that, in future, they need to change what they do to make it valid.

“With percentage turnouts scarily low, and falling, I think we should be making every effort to count every vote. 

"In Glasgow 4870 people think they chose their representatives. For a 2nd class postage cost of £3214, the Electoral Commission could help ensure that next time, they do.”

Across Scotland there were 35,033 rejected papers and most (22,537) were for more than one first preference.

Under election law the approval of a judge is needed to identify  a voter from their ballot paper.

A spokesperson for the Electoral Commission said: "The Electoral Commission wants to see as many votes as possible count in the way the voter intended.

"We are pleased to see that the rate of rejected ballots has come down across Scotland, and in Glasgow in particular, since the last set of council elections in 2017.

"However, every rejected vote is one too many and we will continue to work alongside councils and political parties ahead of the next set of council elections to improve awareness of the voting system."

Glasgow was the third highest in Scotland for rejected papers, with only West Dunbartonshire and North Lanarkshire recording a higher percentage.

A spokesman for Glasgow City Council, said: “Although Glasgow did not record the highest proportion of rejected ballots, it was higher than the Scottish average – and significantly so in some wards.

“Returning officers and their staff do everything they can to ensure votes are accepted, but, in some cases, it just isn’t possible to safely interpret a voter’s intention.

“Everyone, including political parties, has a role to play in making sure voters receive clear and reliable information on how the different voting systems used in each election work and the council will continue to promote and share guidance from the Electoral Commission.”