Isle of Man chief predicts voter turnout success
THE electoral chief from the first European authority to permanently reduce its voting age to 16 has predicted a good teenage turnout in the Scottish independence referendum despite attracting only a fifth of 16 to 17-year-olds to vote in his first election.
Isle of Man registration officer Stephen Carse presided over the first Manx general election to include 16 to 17-year-olds in 2006, in which just 397 of a possible 2,001 voted.
He told Holyrood’s Referendum Bill Committee yesterday that he did not expect the same low turnout in Scotland given the importance of the issue and the relatively long campaign period.
“You have such a high-profile issue, so I would expect that you would be most successful in getting the youngsters to register and subsequently turn out to vote,” he said.
Isle of Man lowered its voting age with a late amendment to previously unrelated electoral registration legislation introduced that year, leaving little time for the idea to disseminate among the Manx population.
“The change in the Isle of Man came somewhat out of the blue,” said Mr Carse.
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