SNP members will not be allowed to change vote, says Mike Russell

Leadership candidate Ash Regan said members who have already voted should be allowed to 'edit' their vote.

SNP members will not be allowed to change vote, says SNP President Mike Russell Getty Images

SNP members will not be able to change their vote following calls from one of the leadership contenders, the interim party chief executive has said.

It comes following Ash Regan’s comments that members who have already voted should be allowed to “edit” their vote.

On Monday, the MSP’s team released a statement which said she had put forward proposals that “provide assurance to members with minimum disruption to the election process that we can move ahead constructively on”.

The former community safety minister backed the “integrity” of the ballot process but urged the SNP to allow each leadership candidate to send one email to members using the party’s mailing system.

She said this would allow a “last minute updated message that reflects current events”.

SNP President Michael Russell, who is temporarily in the chief executive role after the resignation of Peter Murrell over the weekend, said that any changes to the voting process would be “massively disruptive and confusing”.

A statement read: “I have heard from each of the candidates, or their teams, today and I am glad that we are all working together to ensure that there is confidence in the integrity of the current process.

“On the specific issues raised today, it would clearly be massively disruptive and confusing for members to be able to recall their ballot – something that is not done in any public election and which cyber security experts have advised, most recently to the Conservatives when they considered an online ability to change a vote, could be subject to hacking attempts.”

Russell added that the precedent cited by Regan “does not provide any sort of comparison” and said that it would only exist where a candidate had been withdrawn or removed from a contest.

He also added that the rules surrounding the ballot were made “very clear” and “accepted” by the candidates.

The statement continued: “Moreover, the precedent cited by one of the candidates does not provide any sort of comparison, and potentially exists only where a candidate had withdrawn, or been removed, from a contest.

“On the question of another statement from candidates, the rules and practice governing the ballot were made very clear to the candidates from the beginning and accepted by them when they chose to take part.

“Of course, the views of all the candidates on internal and external issues pertaining to the contest have been widely shared through nine hustings – most of which were live-streamed – five TV debates and in every media outlet.

“It is, frankly, very unlikely that any member could be unaware of the vital matters at stake, the key issues that impact on our country and the party, and the candidates ‘views on them.

“It is, of course, the National Executive Committee who set the rules for the contest. Those rules are clear and we have rightly proceeded on that basis to date.

“We will continue to do so and would therefore hope that this allows all three candidates to focus for the last few days of the campaign on the positive case they can and are making for their leadership bid and of course for independence.”

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