THE electoral watchdog has ruled out a review into potential confusion at the ballot box over a right-wing Unionist fringe party – despite hundreds of complaints being lodged.

Concerns were raised that the Scottish Greens were denied two MSPs in the Holyrood election after thousands of voters backed Independent Green Voice (IGV) on the regional ballot, which had a similar name and logo.

More than 300 complaints on the issue have now been made to the Electoral Commission, which will not be carrying out any review of the party’s descriptions and emblems, the Sunday National can reveal.

A few months before the election, IGV registered a new logo of a leaf with the word “Green” prominently below – instead of the previous logo of a forearm with a “thumbs-up” sign.

The party’s description also changed their tag line to “Independent Green Voice – Organic, Local, Democratic”. The changes were approved by the Electoral Commission in March this year.

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SNP MP Alan Brown lodged a question in the House of Commons asking what plans the Commission has to “review the Independent Green Voice party entry and logo on the Scottish parliamentary election regional listing with regards to potential voter confusion with the Scottish Greens political party”.

In a response published last week, Labour MP Christian Matheson, who represents the Speaker’s Committee on the EC, said the watchdog is satisfied that there are “clear and sufficient differences between the two parties’ registered names, descriptions and emblems to avoid likely voter confusion”.

Brown told the Sunday National he was disappointed with this initial response, with the suggestion that “there is nothing to see here”.

He said: “There are serious matters to consider here, and there is no doubt whatsoever people voted for this party by mistake.

“Trying to ascertain the scale of it is important. It is suggested that this cost the Greens two list seats; means the Tory representation is higher than it should be and that there should be two more pro-indy MSPs in Holyrood.

“74-57 pro-indy compared to Unionist representation was great. Clearly 76-55 would be even better.”

Brown said he has now tabled further questions on the issue, including making an assessment of the number of votes received by IGV compared to other parties with similar levels of campaign spending.

DESPITE having no manifesto for this election, IGV won 2210 votes in Glasgow –compared to just 496 in 2007, the last time it put forward a candidate for the list vote. The Scottish Greens were 1000 votes away from taking a second regional seat which eventually went to the Tories.

IGV also won 1690 votes in South Scotland, where the Greens only needed 100 votes to take the final regional seat.

With the Scottish parliamentary ballot papers organised in alphabetical order, IGV appeared before the Scottish Greens.

The Scottish Greens have previously voiced anger over the issue, saying: “Independent Green Voice, now a front for fascists, was allowed to use a logo with ‘green’ in big letters and the other words insmall print on the ballot paper.

“There are serious questions about how the Electoral Commission allowed such blatant electoral deceit.”

Brown added he had argued the case at Westminster for the Electoral Commission to be given “more teeth” to prevent election manipulation and be able to punish breaches of campaign laws and spending.

But he said: “However, in this case where they do not need to worry about any breaches of electoral laws, they need to do their best to ensure full transparency for voters and the elimination of voter confusion. It would be even worse to argue they need more powers if they are not being seen to do enough to tackle issues raised with them.”

THE Electoral Commission said it is currently considering 329 “enquiries” over the issue and will respond to them.

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A spokeswoman said: “We assess all applications for party names and emblems against the criteria set out in law, including the requirement to ensure that in our opinion voters would not likely be confused between two parties as a result of how their identity marks look on a ballot paper. If a party’s application meets the legal criteria it must be registered. As part of our assessment process we invite comments from the public and other parties.

“There are over 400 parties currently registered with the Commission and inevitably there are instances where the same words are used by more than one party.

“No concerns were raised with us in relation to this application to add an emblem to a long-registered party.

“We are satisfied that there are clear and sufficient differences between the two party’s registered names, descriptions and emblems to avoid confusion.”