The Scottish government published an exciting document making proposals for electoral reform in December 2017.  The Scottish Parliament recently gained new powers over the conduct of Scottish Parliamentary elections and electoral registration and already has devolved responsibility for local government elections.

Earlier in 2018, I was kindly invited to speak at an event organised by the Electoral Commission to discuss the paper (and a video may follow).

In the meantime, I’ve now had chance to submit my written evidence, which you can download here.

The headlines are that I think there is some strong arguments for:

  • Extending the powers of the Electoral Management Board for Scotland
  • Introducing greater transparency into the funding of elections and a broader review of current arrangements is undertaken to ensure sufficient funds are available
  • Reviewing Returning Officer fees
  • Piloting innovations to increase turnout such as internet voting, advance voting and allowing citizens to vote at any polling station (but lessons must be learnt from past pilots so that a better research design is adopted).
  • Automatic electoral registration (or variants of it…) is considered.  At the very least, Scottish citizens should be asked whether they want to register to vote when they access other government services.
  • A single electoral register for Scotland is considered
  • There is careful monitoring of workplace conditions
  • Law makers are aware of how legal complexity can be a problem for administrators

I have only commented here on the areas that I have directly (co-) researched

Thoughts very welcome!  Especially from electoral administrator folk, who often know best…

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