Seminar aims to improve voter turnout


Ways to improve voter turnout will be examined in a seminar to be held at the Scottish Parliament on Friday 4 June.

The event has been jointly organised by the Scottish Parliament’s Local Government and Communities Committee and the Scottish Government.

Discussions will cover a range of topics including turnout trends across Scotland and Europe, the use of new media in encouraging civic participation and the role of electoral professionals in raising awareness of voter registration.

Convener of the Local Government and Communities Committee, Duncan McNeil MSP said: “Good voter turnout is fundamental to the success of any election. We recommended in our committee inquiry report into the 2007 local government elections that both the Scottish Parliament and the Scottish Government should look at how we can improve turnout. This seminar will give us an excellent opportunity to look at why people vote or don’t vote and what we can do to encourage greater numbers of people to register and use their vote.”

Minister for Parliamentary Business, Bruce Crawford MSP said: “After working closely with the Local Government and Communities Committee to explore ways in which voter turnout can be increased I am delighted that this seminar will allow us to involve a variety of organisations and individuals in this work. Voting is the single most important step to ensure that your voice is heard. Voter turnout is an issue for any election.

"We need to consider how to improve turnout, what the difficulties are that have to be overcome and how we can fix the disconnect between voters and politicians. I believe that these questions are not just for Government and this is why a broad range of organisations have been invited. I look forward to hearing the views from these groups and participating in the event myself.”

Over 50 organisations are taking part in the seminar including COSLA, Electoral Commission, Scottish Youth Parliament, and the Electoral Reform Society.

Timetable for the event

• 09.15 Registration and refreshments.
• 10.00 Welcome remarks, Deputy Presiding Officer in Main Chamber.
• 10.05 Duncan McNeil MSP, Convener of Local Government and Communities Committee.
• 10.15 Bruce Crawford MSP, Minister for Parliamentary Business.
• 10.25 Dr Robert Johns from Department of Government at University of Strathclyde, Glasgow.
• 10.50 Break-out groups in Committee Rooms
• 12.15 Reports back in the Chamber to be recorded by the Parliament’s Official Report.
• 13.00 Closing remarks

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