Electoral Register in Scotland Down Despite Increases in Population & Franchise

Your Vote Matters –  Don’t Lose It

New figures from the Electoral Commission reveal that hundreds of thousands of potential Scottish voters are missing from the electoral roll.

The Electoral Commission’s first major study of the ‘completeness’ of the electoral register in three years reveals that 16% of people who should be on the Parliamentary roll are not, while 13% of entries are inaccurate.

The results for Scotland in December 2018 show that:

  • Parliamentary registers were 84% complete and 87% accurate
  • Local government registers were 83% complete and 86% accurate

The findings lead to an estimate of:

  • between 630,000 and 890,000 people in Scotland who were eligible to be on the local government registers but were not correctly registered

  • between 400,000 and 745,000 inaccurate entries on the local government registers in December 2018 [Electoral Commission]

As The Orkney News reported several days ago these figures mirror what is happening across the UK. 9 Million People Missing From The Electoral Register

Dr Jess Garland, Director of Policy and Research for the ERS (Electoral Reform Society) said:

“These figures should sound the alarm for anyone who cares about democracy. Hundreds of thousands of potential voters in Scotland are effectively missing from the electoral roll, representing a major barrier to political equality and democratic engagement. That means any snap election will be on the basis of an flawed franchise.”

In Scotland, homeowners are more likely to be registered than people in other types of tenure.

Completeness was highest among those who own outright (95%), compared to those in households buying with a mortgage (87%), social renters (81%) and private renters (49%).

Unless those missing from the register sign up soon after a snap election is announced, they risk being disenfranchised, the ERS warn.

You cannot check online if you are registered to vote.

How to register to vote click this link: Register to Vote

Older people are more likely to be registered :

  • 18-34 percentage registered 68%  
  • 35-54 percentage registered 87%
  • 55+ percentage registered 92%

Even more worryingly, the number of registered electors is actually going down despite the population rising, and the number eligible to be on the register growing significantly through the adoption of votes at 16/17

the most significant proportion of major errors which would prevent someone from voting, or incorrectly allow someone to vote, relate to entries that refer to individuals who no longer live at the property (13%). Electoral Commission

And there are another 400,000 and 745,000 inaccurate entries on the local government registers in December 2018 – with the wrong details for people without them necessarily being prevented from voting.

Alice Kinghorn-Gray, Campaigns Officer for Electoral Reform Society Scotland, said:

“The gaps in registration are creating major inequalities in our elections, with young people and renters particularly affected. Parties must respond with action, and start to bring in the ‘missing millions’. Let’s ensure the next election does not exclude huge swathes of our country and instead represents the gold standard for participation.”


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