VOTER REGISTRATION CONCERNS RAISED

VOTER REGISTRATION CONCERNS RAISED – 800,000 SCOTS COULD DROP OFF ROLL

ROB GIBSON MSP WRITES TO ELECTORAL COMMISSION AND CALLS FOR ‘ENGAGING APPROACH’

SNP MSP Rob Gibson has today written to the Electoral Commission to raise concerns over voter registration.

Mr Gibson’s letter comes following news that hundreds of thousands of people in Scotland face being removed from the voters roll due to new regulations based on moving from household to individual voter registration.

Earlier this week it was reported in The Herald newspaper that as many as 800,000 people who signed up to vote in last year’s referendum may not be eligible to vote in the Scottish Parliamentary elections in 2016.

Mr Gibson, SNP MSP for Caithness, Sutherland and Ross has now written to Any O’Neill, head of the Electoral Commission Office in Scotland, seeking clarity on this and expressing concern at the manner in which people are being contacted.

Mr Gibson said:

“One of the great successes of last year’s referendum was the level of engagement and voter participation that swept across every community in the weeks and months before September 18.

“Never before have so many people signed up to have their say in the democratic process in Scotland – it is vitally important that we aim to retain this level of voter participation.

“The Electoral Commission’s transition from a household canvass of voters to individual registration in Glasgow alone has seen 100,000 fewer voters registered so far – and this could mount to 800,000 across Scotland if new means are not found to encourage voter registration in good time for the 2016 Scottish Parliamentary election.

“The letter I received from my local Electoral Registration Office did not make clear what elections this reregistration would impact on. It only informed me that I could not be re-registered because my date of birth and National Insurance Number were not sufficient identifiers. This letter was worded in an unnecessarily unhelpful way – I would urge a more open and engaging approach.

“I look forward to hearing back form the Electoral Commission; I hope they too share these concerns and can detail me with plans which will alleviate fears that the great expansion of our democracy in Scotland faces being reversed by current procedures.”