Commission Should Look At Mobile Voting

The Electoral Commission should consider introducing internet and phone voting in order to boost turnout at elections, according to a Holyrood report.

The Local Government Committee has recommended that the commission, alongside the Scottish Government, looks at alternatives to traditional voting, and takes opportunities to test out new methods. 

The recommendation comes after the committee examined the 2012 local government elections which saw a voter turnout of just 39.8%. 

Deputy Committee convener John Wilson MSP said: ``Our committee is only too aware of the importance of local democracy on the day-to-day lives of people across the country. 

``That is why it is so important we looked at local authority elections and what more needs to be done to ensure that everyone can have their say. 

``Given its importance, we are disappointed that none of the political parties took the opportunity to respond to our requests for evidence.

 ``Voter engagement is not the responsibility of just one organisation. The Scottish Government, the Electoral Commission, local authorities and political parties all have a role to play in giving people the power to affect and change local issues. 

``If we don't all work together, there is a real danger that local authority elections will continue to be seen as the third tier of democracy. 

``With four years to go until the next local authority elections, now is the time to learn the lessons of the past and modernise the voting system to engage with as many people as possible and to make the voting system as accessible as possible.'' 

The Committee's report also suggests extending the use of proxy or postal votes, more engagement with young people in secondary and further education, and consideration of a year-round continual canvass to ensure that all eligible voters are registered.