Shocking figures have revealed that between 630,000-890,000 voters are no longer registered to vote in Scotland.
There are a few people who choose not to vote, but that is a very small number compared to the hundreds of thousands who are ‘missing’ from the electoral register.
A combination of misinformation, Trumpian claims of electoral fraud, broken promises, failed policies and the behaviour of politicians themselves have turned many people off the electoral process. They have simply become disengaged with political campaigns which increasingly speak to an ever diminishing bubble of supporters on social media.
In Scotland elections are to take place on Thursday May 6th to elect Members to sit in the Scottish Parliament. On the same day local elections are taking place in England.
The latest figures from the Electoral Commission show 17% of eligible voters in Great Britain are not registered at their current address, representing as many as 9.4 million people unable to use their right to vote.
Electoral Commission analysis shows that areas with a high concentration of certain demographics – students, private renters and especially young adults” as well as some ethnic minority groups – are particularly in danger of having low registration numbers.
At the last Scottish Parliament elections (2016) turnout, (that’s the people who actually go to vote), was 55.8% for the constituency contests and 55.9% for the regional list voting. This was actually higher than in 2011 where it was 50.5% Constituency and 50.4% Regional List. Results and Turnout at the 2016 Scottish Parliament Elections
Not turning out to vote and not being registered is a huge chunk of the population who are not taking part in the democratic process.
This year, 2021, we are dealing with the Covid pandemic, the effects of leaving the EU, continuing rising levels of child poverty, a climate emergency and an individual feeling of helplessness when swamped by these massive issues.
But every individual vote does count. The Scottish Parliament is elected using a form of proportional representation. Your vote really does count. And you have two – 1. to elect a Constituency MSP (First Past the Post) and 2. to select from a List of political parties and individuals ( elected by share of the vote).
If You have Not Done so Register by 11:59pm on 19 April to vote in the following elections in the UK on 6 May:
- Local government elections and referendums in England
- Police and Crime Commissioner elections in England and Wales
- Scottish Parliament elections
- Senedd (Welsh Parliament) elections
- Mayor of London and London Assembly elections
Dr Jess Garland, Director of Policy and Research at the Electoral Reform Society, said:
“With just a week to go until the registration deadline, we need a massive push from public bodies and civil society to ensure everyone is signed up and able to exercise their right to vote on May 6th.
“Unfortunately, millions are likely to remain off the register, with many believing they were already signed up, or simply missing communications about the deadline. People often assume – quite fairly – that you shouldn’t have to opt in to your right to vote.
“Voting is a public good, and we need to pull out all the stops to ensure the system is fit for purpose. Many countries automatically register voters alongside other government services. We should do the same. It’s a scandal that nine million people are missing from the roll – and it hits young people, renters and some BAME groups particularly hard.
“We need a major voting rights effort. Instead, the government seems intent on imposing mandatory voter ID, a costly policy that will exclude millions more still who lack ID. It would be a hammer blow to political equality, and ministers should think again.”