Scottish Greens did not complain over party it claimed undertook 'blatant electoral deceit'

The Scottish Greens failed to complain to the Electoral Commission about a party they criticised as having undertaken “blatant electoral deceit” during the 2021 Holyrood election, it can be revealed.

A row between the party and the elections regulator continues to rumble on following a revelation the Greens did not complain about the name or emblem of the Independent Green Voice party prior to the election.

Party officials accused the Independent Green Voice of deliberately misleading voters at the ballot box in an attempt to gain votes, pointing to a lack of a manifesto and campaigning prior to polling day.

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In a response to a request from The Scotsman, the Electoral Commission confirmed no complaints had been lodged by the Scottish Greens during the period in which the public could comment on the application from the Independent Green Voice to change its logo.

The Scottish Greens are blaming the Electoral Commission over thousands of votes cast for the 'Independent Green Voice', potentially denying the part two additional MSPs.
The Scottish Greens are blaming the Electoral Commission over thousands of votes cast for the 'Independent Green Voice', potentially denying the part two additional MSPs.

Emails released by Electoral Commission officials in response to the Freedom of Information request show no concerns were raised internally around the new emblem.

In response, the commission said: “We consider all public comments as part of our assessment process, but can confirm that no comments were received from Scottish Green Party officials, or others, in relation to the recent Independent Green Voice application.”

However, in response, the Scottish Greens criticised the Electoral Commission for having “failed in its duty”.

A spokesperson for the party said: “While the party spotted the worrying logo too late to comment directly to the Electoral Commission, its own guidance states that they should reject an emblem if it could mislead voters.

"In this case, almost 10,000 people voted for a party that did not campaign, had no manifesto, no online presence and changed their logo ahead of the election to try and mislead voters.

"For those who voted IGV by mistake, the Electoral Commission failed in its duty and it’s disappointing that the many voters who complained appear not to have been taken seriously.”

In May’s election, the Scottish Greens blamed the Independent Green Voice party, which they labelled a “front for fascists”, for their narrow failure to win two additional MSPs on the regional list and take their representation up to ten MSPs in Holyrood.

Had 900 of the 2,210 votes received by the Independent Green Voice in Glasgow and 115 of the 1,690 the party received in the South of Scotland gone to the Greens, Patrick Harvie and Lorna Slater’s party would have won additional list seats.

Several hundred voters complained to the Electoral Commission in response to the controversy around the Independent Green Voice after the election.

Independent Green Voice has been registered since 2003, but it adopted a new logo in March, replacing a “thumbs up” symbol with one of a leaf.

Responding, a spokesperson for the Electoral Commission said: “The Electoral Commission’s duty is to register party emblems that meet the tests set out in electoral law.

"One of the statutory tests against which all emblems are assessed is the ‘likely to confuse’ test. There is a high legal threshold for this test and it is not equivalent to ‘may confuse’.

"Following a careful assessment process we were satisfied that we were required by law to register the emblem in question, which was materially different from any other party emblems registered with us.”

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