Referendum sees rise in people registering to vote

he referendum helped to get more people on voters' roll. Picture: AFP/Getty

he referendum helped to get more people on voters' roll. Picture: AFP/Getty

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THE political excitement generated by the referendum has been credited with rising numbers of people registering to vote in Scotland.

Figures released yesterday by the National Records of Scotland showed 4.04 million Scots are now registered to vote in next month’s general election, an increase of 8,207 (0.2 per cent) on this time last year.

The referendum did push the numbers up

John Curtice

As of March this year, the UK parliamentary electorate in Scotland now represents approximately 94 per cent of the adult population north of the Border.

That compares with the just under 90 per cent of the population of England and Wales who were registered to vote in UK parliamentary elections at the end of 2014.

According to the data, 4.13m people were registered to vote in the local government and Scottish Parliament elections – an increase of 11,432 (0.3 per cent) compared to 2014.

Last year’s referendum saw voter registration peak at nearly 4.29m, an electoral franchise that represented 97 per cent of the Scottish population and included extending the vote to 16 and 17-year-olds.

The most recent figures for the UK as a whole show that the number of registered voters fell from 46.14m in 2013 to 45.32m in 2014.

John Curtice, professor of politics at Strathclyde University, said: “In part at least, the growth pre-dates the rise as a result of the referendum. But what is also true is that the referendum did push the numbers up.”

Between March and September last year, just over 83,000 people added their names to the roll.

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