Tens of thousands of Scottish citizens have signed petitions for a recount or re-vote for Scottish independence, claiming electoral fraud based on circulating photographs and videos that suggest foul play by ballot counters.
“We the undersigned demand a re-vote of the Scottish referendum, counted by impartial international parties,” one petition (signed by 87,000) reads, before citing “countless evidences of fraud” documented during the poll on Thursday.
Photographs and videos suggesting the vote was rigged have been circulating, such as this photograph of a ‘Yes’ vote sitting on a table with a ‘No’ sign:
A yes ballot paper in the No section.... pic.twitter.com/T7Hfg7dBPI— DannyMcparland11 (@dannymcparland) September 19, 2014
Another petition that was signed by 62,000 demands an investigation on vote counting procedures.
“I have seen videos that look like cheating and also too many ‘Yes’ voters for the result to be no,” wrote one signatory.
“Why are there ‘Yes’ votes photographed on a ‘No’ table? Why are there videos of votes being tampered with or moved around while the counter is seen looking around making sure no one was watching?”
Here is one of the videos with purported evidence of fraud at the polling location in Dundee:
A ‘Yes’ spokeswoman said that all of the seemingly suspicious evidence is explainable – that the votes in the photograph, for example, hadn’t been sorted yet.
The Yes campaign took to Twitter itself in an attempt to calm the skeptics:
To clarify, ballot papers have not yet been sorted into Yes/No and are just resting on table where No will go once sorted. No need to worry.— Yes Dundee (@YesDundee) September 18, 2014
Others refer to a claim that a counting officer in Edinburgh was seen writing on a ballot paper.
“At times, uncounted ballots would be placed on tables that had yes or no signs attached before being sorted,” she told the Guardian. “And piles that didn’t reach round numbers of 50 or 100 would be wrapped in a piece of paper on which the total number of votes would be written, explaining the Edinburgh footage,” the spokeswoman said.
In a statement, chief counting officer Mary Pitcaithly said she was “satisfied that all counts throughout Scotland were properly conducted and scrutinized by thousands of people representing both the Yes Scotland and the Better Together campaigns, as well as international election observers, media and police.
“None of these people raised any concerns during the verification, counting and adjudication stages.”
Though the (recently resigned) First Minister of Scotland Alex Salmond called on his supporters to accept the democratic verdict, many remain suspicious.
A spokesman for Salmond said that neither he nor the Scottish National Party believes there was anything unjust about the count itself, “but passions, and suspicions, have been running high among some in Scotland for months, making the questioning of the poll perhaps unsurprising.”