** Update 20/11/12: People have been very kind in sending through any new information which I am putting into the figures below as we can find it. That this has been such a ridiculously complex task is making me believe that future elections really should have one central website at which the Results Certificates are uploaded as soon as announced. That would provide far better information for the public, researchers and journalists than crazily crawling through websites.
Some results are still differing from other figures. As noted, I initially used the Guardian dataset but that looks to have been a little off (I think because spoils were taken out) so some of the percentages are slightly out. However, an excellent post by Alan Renwick at the University of Reading has all data here and gives an analysis of what the results meant. He concludes that the spoils were not dramatically high. It’s an interesting piece and I highly recommend it even if you disagree with the conclusion.
Original Post from Day of the PCC Election Count
Can’t find a single major media outlet with the figure of rejected ballot papers (admittedly that includes ‘incorrect’ votes as well as protests) so, along with @michaelt1979, we crawled local area websites where results are required to be published as soon as possible after the election has finished (according to rules of the game by the Electoral Commission). Many councils do a great job of putting it somewhere accessible and provide lots of details; sadly, it’s amazing how many of them really don’t.
Having looked up a number of local election results from 2008 (2010’s general elec was an unfair comparison) the average rejected paper rate is between 0.15 and 0.35% in all the areas I viewed. Almost every election below had a spoil rate ten times higher than would be normal for their area. Put that against the lowest turnout ever in an election and I really do feel the public have spoken on this one.
There are almost definitely some mistakes below – some of it is caused by discrepancies between available datasets and we don’t necessarily know which ones are correct, however where possible we have linked to our source. Please give me a shout via twitter (@miss_mcinerney) if you see something incorrect and I’ll update.
Wiltshire – 3.3%
Dorset – 2.5%
Suffolk – 3.9%
Dyfed – 4.5%
West Midlands – 3%
Hertfordshire – 3% – UPDATED: Certificates of result now online, thanks to blog reader for emailing to update me on this one.
Cleveland – UPDATED: The only figures available on the Cleveland website are for the ‘second round’ count. By this point the spoils have already been removed. So I can’t find the correct figure. *Sigh* Another Returning Officer who hasn’t read the guide book?
Greater Manchester – have published without rejections, poor form.
Merseyside – UPDATE: figure is 2% (2915) – given to me by @michaelt1979 – It’s buried in a daft part of the council website
Sussex – Clearly trying to be helpful the results page talks through how the count worked but doesn’t mention rejected papers. Another potential Election Commission rule failure. Just had this pointed out to me though suggesting a 3% figure: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-sussex-20346180
Lancashire – have a fancy PCC website and say they are going to update in next few hours: keep watching > http://www.lancspcc.co.uk/
Thames Valley – 3.4%
Northumbria – 2.2%
Hampshire – 2.5% –
Durham – 2.1% – First place I have seen a UKIP candidate score higher than the Conservative candidate
South Yorkshire – 2.8%
Gloucestershire – 2.7%
Nottinghamshire – 2.2%
Cambridge – 3.3%
Kent – 1.8%
Northamptonshire – 2.9%
Norfolk – 3.3% – this might be 3%, the figure I have for total turnout is from Guardian datablog but showing up a little differently to Norfolk results. Somewhere between the two seems likely!
Staffordshire – 2.9%
Essex – 2%
Cornwall – 3.2%
Leicestershire – 2.6%
Cheshire – 2.2%
Avon & Somerset – 3.8%
West Yorkshire – 3.7%
Humberside – 1.7%
Lincolnshire – 2.2%
North Yorkshire – 7.23% (really quite incredible!)