THE running of the Holyrood election has been judged a success by the independent watchdog, with the number of spoiled papers falling by 90% compared with the 2007 figure.

The Electoral Commission report into the Scottish Parliament poll found 97% of voters found it easy to fill in their ballot papers, compared with only 82% four years previously when the list and constituency votes were combined on a single paper.

This improvement came in spite of the Holyrood poll being combined with the UK referendum which rejected a change to the voting system for Westminster, although this year the council elections were de-coupled from the Scottish Parliament election.

In 2007 more than 4% of constituency ballots were spoiled, while for the list vote the spoil rate was almost 3%. By May 5 this year spoils had been brought down to 0.42% and 0.34% respectively.

John McCormick, Electoral Commissioner for Scotland, said: “On May 6 everyone in Scotland was talking about the result of the election instead of the administration. That’s the way it should be. Unlike in 2007 when the electoral administrative process was the story, in 2011 the process was not in the limelight. It was rightly about voters and their choices.

“The Scottish Parliament election was a real test for the work which has taken place since 2007 on making sure that ballot papers are easy for voters to complete and strengthening the co-ordination of elections in Scotland through the creation of an Electoral Management Board for Scotland led by an Elections Convener. I am pleased to record that the hard work has been worth while.”