Missing million might not vote in the referendum

Polling booth web

The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations is campaigning to make sure people vote in this September's referendum

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28th July 2014 by Graham Martin 0 Comments

The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) is spearheading a new campaign to make sure the missing million gets out to vote in Scotland’s crucial independence referendum.

It is estimated that at least one in four Scots are either unregistered or won't bother to have their say in the September 18 poll.

That’s around a million people – many of whom will be amongst the poorest and most vulnerable in our society.

This missing million faces being disenfranchised – when their voice, if heard, could change the result.

It’s the poor, least educated and most vulnerable people who aren’t having their say

That’s why SCVO has joined with the Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC) and the Daily Record to encourage people to register to vote.

John Downie, SCVO’s director of public affairs, said: “It’s appalling to think that more than a million eligible people in Scotland aren’t registered to vote, and many more won’t bother to use their vote, with the referendum just weeks away.

“We know that the top 20% of income earners are the most likely to vote, and as many as half of people in the bottom 20% don’t vote.

“This means it’s the poor, least educated and most vulnerable people who aren’t having their say.

“These are the people whose lives are most directly affected by political decisions about welfare, health and social care. If they don’t vote, it’s easier for politicians to ignore their needs."

The campaign's message is that the referendum and other decisions about the economy, health and social care are far too important to be left to the politicians.

It is responding to a lack of action from other areas of society, including politicians, to encourage people to use their vote.

Grahame Smith, STUC general secretary, said: “The independence referendum offers a superb opportunity to reinvigorate politics in Scotland.  

“But it seems that both the tone of the debate and the limited action to promote participation means that far too many people will not have their say in September. 

“Both sides of the debate are claiming they will deliver on social justice, so whatever the outcome of the referendum we will need to hold politicians to their promises.

“It is not too late for one final push to encourage people to register, and to vote on September 18.”

Look out for copies of this week’s Third Force News, which will contain a special insert featuring an electoral registration form. Organisations that want additional copies of this booklet for their service users, should contact [email protected]