Due to the recent extreme weather, the Scottish Government has extended its consultation on electoral reform to 29th March.

The Scottish Parliament recently gained new powers over the conduct of Scottish Parliamentary elections and electoral registration, alongside its existing devolved responsibility for local government elections.

These new powers create new opportunities and the consultation seeks to find out what kind of electoral reforms the people of Scotland would like to see.

The Scottish Government has already announced its intention to trial innovative electronic voting methods and part of the consultation seeks people’s views on what means of electronic voting might be considered.

Following the result of a similar consultation, the Welsh Government has recently announced its plans to pilot remote online voting in elections.

In a Holyrood debate on electronic voting held earlier this week, SNP MSP for Cunninghame South, Ruth Maguire, welcomed the potential for increased turnout and engagement that e-voting could deliver, particularly amongst younger people, and encouraged people in her constituency to make their voices heard by responding to the consultation.

Speaking, she said:

“Electronic voting holds huge potential for making it easier to vote, which could in turn increase turnout and engagement. That might be particularly true for younger people, who conduct so much of their lives online, but who are also least likely to turn out to vote.

Figures for the Office for National Statistics for 2017 show that virtually all adults aged from 16 to 34 years—99 per cent of them— are internet users. At the same time, according to YouGov, just over half of 18 and 19-year-olds turned out to vote at the 2017 general election, compared with 84 per cent of those aged 70 and over.

In an era of Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, hashtags and online petitions, imagine the impact on turnout if people could, for example, simply see a tweet reminding them to vote, click on the link and do just that, whatever the time of day or wherever they might be.”

People can take part in the consultation until 29th March here.


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