Scottish independence: Late surge in voter registration


Click to follow
The Independent Online

Councils across Scotland have been handling a sudden surge in the number of people registering to vote in the independence referendum, with many leaving it until the last minute to meet the deadline.

Figures released by councils across the country showed that thousands of voters have only registered in the past week, but some left it even later, with queues forming outside Glasgow City Council’s registration office throughout yesterday afternoon ahead of the midnight cut-off point.

A spokeswoman for the council said it had received more than 5,000 registration applications last week, with hundreds more arriving in the past few days. She added that staff had been able to cope with the demand and that a special post box for last minute registrations was available until the deadline passed.

In the past seven days Renfrewshire Council received 5,000 registration applications, and Shetland and Orkney almost 1,000, while Edinburgh has received 30,000 in the past couple of months, according to figures obtained by the BBC.

Other areas, such as the Scottish Borders, Dundee, Highland, Angus, and Perth and Kinross reported that they had seen “unprecedented” demand for registration. Many registration staff worked until midnight yesterday to cope with the demand.

The Electoral Commission said that more than 100,000 voter registration forms had been downloaded from its website between 11 and 29 August, although it is not clear how many of these were filled in and returned.

Video: Scottish independence debate highlights

Mary Pitcaithly, the referendum’s chief counting officer, said: “The referendum has prompted high levels of interest, with increasing numbers of people registering to vote and applying for postal votes. Electoral registration offices across Scotland are handling a high volume of applications and registrations.

“All offices have planned their processes and resources accordingly to handle the increase in applications and to ensure the updated register is complete in advance of polling day. If you made a valid application in time, you will be able to vote on 18 September.”