Question 6 – What are your views on ways that would make voting easier?

Bruce CrawfordThe sixth question in the referendum consultation asks “What are your views on the idea that the referendum could be held on a Saturday or on other ways which would make voting easier?”

This question is about turnout and the Scottish Government’s wish for as many of the people of Scotland to have the chance to have their democratic say on the future of Scotland in the independence referendum.

In June 2010 the Scottish Government and the Scottish Parliament’s Local Government and Communities Committee held a joint seminar in the Scottish Parliament on the subject of voter turnout.  Over 50 organisations took part including the Electoral Commission, COSLA, the Scottish Youth Parliament and the Electoral Reform Society.

Up for discussion were the possible causes of low turnout in elections and ways to increase the number of people who register and use their votes in elections in Scotland.

Amongst the ideas discussed was the suggestion that elections could be held on a Saturday in order to make it easier for people to vote.

Other proposals included voting in places other than the traditional polling station – eg in shops, libraries or other public buildings – and encouraging the greater use of mobile polling stations.

The reasons behind Thursday being the traditional voting day seem unclear according to the BBC.  However it is interesting to note that the last time a general election did not take place on a Thursday was on Tuesday 27 October 1931, and to note that the 1918 general election was held on a Saturday.

So what do you think? Do you think we should stick with Thursday voting or it is time for a change?  Would it make it easier for you to vote? Or would religious reasons make it harder for you to vote? Should we be able to vote in libraries, shops or other public building?  Do you have any other ideas on how we can increase turnout?

We welcome your view on this issue and the others raised in the independence referendum consultation.  Have your say here: https://consult.scotland.gov.uk/scotreferendum

Cabinet Secretary for Government Strategy and Parliamentary Business, Bruce Crawford

  • Bigcammy

    It is very important that the turnout is respectable and Saturday would be unlikely to disadvantage anyone from voting. The poll must be seen as being fair and I have some concern that there could be some doubt if voting takes place at multiple venues. If that can be sorted I’m happy.

  • Dmc

    A few suggestions, a little contrarian but why not?

    Since this is the most important decision for hundreds of years it deserves thought and new thinking that is fitting with a modern Scotland as well as more convenience and respect for the weather:

    We could have more than just one day and one way that suits today’s society:-

    A week of voting?

    The traditional Thursday and Saturday?

    On-line (via any channel/social media platform) on one single,transparent, secure, centralised, visible, official, dedicated platform, not run by any public sector or government body?

    Manual/traditional for those not on-line but then scanned for public places as suggested above to one central site?

    Just thoughts.

    • Gillian M

      so social media platform via eg Facebook would be preferable to anything run by any public sector or government body…..what is the problem/ advantage here exactly?

      And as for a week of voting – I’m just not sure why this is necessary either, especially with the option to arrange a postal vote in advance (this makes it easy for busy people to have their say). I presume holding the vote over a longer period would cost a lot more money. If you are so keen to have the views of those who can’t organise themselves to get there on the day/ arrange a postal vote, maybe you would like to suggest paying non-governmental/ public-sector people to chap the door of every person residing in scotland over a fixed period of time, in order to make it as effortless as possible for everyone who is able (but not necessarily prepared enough to get off their bahouky) to give an opinion on the matter?

  • Jonmacdiarmid

    I do not think there will be any of the usual ’voter apathy’ when it comes time to vote in this referendum. Everyone in Scotland will want to register their opinion, after all the potential end of the UK will be a historic decision with the entire world watching and I think everyone will wish to vote.