Unregistered voters targeted in run-up to Scottish elections
17 March 2011
Shelter Scotland and the Electoral Commission have teamed up to encourage as many people as possible to register to vote in the forthcoming Holyrood elections.
The Scotland-wide voter registration campaign is specifically targeting people living in rented, social or temporary accommodation as these groups are known to be the most under-represented on the voting register.
Graeme Brown, director of Shelter Scotland, the housing and homelessness charity, said:
“Hundreds of thousands of people across Scotland are not on the electoral roll and therefore cannot vote. This campaign along with the Electoral Commission aims to encourage people who may be living in social or temporary housing or are homeless to register to vote and to make it as easy as possible for them to do so.
“Shelter Scotland’s thrust is to make housing a priority for all parties in the run-up to the elections and beyond.
“We are sending leaflets, posters and forms to various organisations across Scotland – including housing associations, councils and homelessness service providers – to give people all the information they require to register.
"By registering, people can ensure that if they want to influence the outcome when election day arrives, they will have the opportunity to make their voice heard.”
Andy O’Neill, Head of the Electoral Commission in Scotland, said: “People eligible to vote who are living in temporary accommodation may not realise that they can still register and vote using their temporary address. We want to make sure that anyone living in temporary accommodation has the information they need to make their voice heard on election day, 5 May.”
Notes on registration: People with no fixed address are entitled to vote providing they are over 18 years old and a UK citizen. They can register at a temporary address, like a hostel, or by making a ‘declaration of local connection’ – which is a statement to the local electoral office to say where they spend most of their time. To find out more about registering to vote, people can visit aboutmyvote.co.uk, contact their local electoral registration office through their council or, for advice, phone Shelter Scotland on 0344 515 2467.
Notes to Editors:
1. Shelter Scotland, the housing and homelessness charity. Shelter Scotland believes that everyone should have a home. We help people find and keep a home. We campaign for decent housing for all.
2. Spokespeople are available for interview, telephone the media office on 0844 515 2442. An ISDN line number is available for broadcast interviews.
3. For more information about Shelter Scotland visit www.shelter.org.uk
About the Electoral Commission
1. The Electoral Commission is an independent body set up by the UK Parliament. Our aim is integrity and public confidence in the UK’s democratic process. We regulate party and election finance and set standards for well-run elections.
2. People living in temporary accommodation can register to vote with the local Electoral Registration Officer using their temporary address. Visit www.aboutmyvote.co.uk or contact your local Electoral Registration Office.
3. People with no fixed address should complete a Declaration of local connection available from the local Electoral Registration Office. On the form you need to give an address where you would be living if it were not for your current situation, or an address where you have lived in the past. If you are homeless, you can give details of where you spend a substantial part of your time.
4. A person can vote in the Scottish Parliament election and the referendum if they are on the electoral register, are 18 or over on 5 May and are:
* A British citizen, or
* A qualifying Commonwealth citizen, or
* A citizen of the Irish Republic
Citizens of other European Union countries registered to vote in Scotland can vote in the Scottish Parliament election. However, they can’t vote in the referendum.