Voting at the referendum

On Thursday 18 September 2014, there will be a referendum on independence for Scotland. This guide explains the referendum and how you can take part.

 

About the referendum

A referendum asks you to vote Yes or No to a proposal. For this referendum, you will receive a ballot paper with this question:

"Should Scotland be an independent country?"

 

Can I vote?

You can vote in the referendum if you are registered to vote in Scotland, and are 16 or over on 18 September 2014 and are:

· a British citizen living in Scotland

· a European Union citizen living in Scotland, or

· a qualifying* Commonwealth citizen living in Scotland

Service personnel posted outside of Scotland along with their spouse or civil partner and any 16 or 17 year old children may also vote in the referendum if they are registered to vote in Scotland.

To vote in this referendum, you must be registered to vote. You must be registered by 2 September 2014.

 

Am I registered to vote?

If you’re not registered, you won’t be able to vote. In October and November 2013, each household was sent two forms by their local electoral registration office requesting the details of all those who will be eligible to vote.

If you have not received your forms or need new forms, you should contact your local electoral registration office. You can get their details by entering your postcode on this website.

You can also fill in a form here (although you will still need to print the form, sign it and post it back to your local electoral registration office).

To vote in this referendum you must be registered by 2 September 2014.

If you aren’t sure whether you’re registered to vote, your local electoral registration office can tell you. You can find their details by entering your postcode on this website.

 

Ways of voting

There are three ways you can vote:

 

In person on Thursday 18 September: Most people vote in person at their polling station. It is straightforward and a member of staff will always help if you are not sure what to do. You will receive a poll card telling you where your polling station is. It is often a nearby school or a community centre. If you do not receive your poll card, you can contact your local council to find out where your polling station is.

Polling stations are open from 7am to 10pm. If you have not been issued with a ballot paper by 10pm you won’t be able to vote, so make sure you arrive in plenty of time.

 

By post: You can apply to vote by post. You will need to fill in an application form and send it to your local electoral registration office to arrive by 5pm on 3 September. You can get an application form here.

Your local council can send postal ballot papers to your home address or to any other address that you give. Ballot papers can be sent overseas, but you need to think about whether you will have time to receive and return your ballot papers by 10pm on 18 September.

You will be sent your ballot papers ahead of the poll. If they don’t arrive, you can get replacements from your local council up to 5pm on Thursday 18 September.

 

By proxy: If you can’t go to the polling station and don’t wish to vote by post, you may be able to vote by proxy. This means allowing somebody you trust to vote on your behalf. You will need to fill in an application form and send it to your local electoral registration office to arrive by 5pm on 3 September. You can get an application form here.

When you apply for a proxy vote you have to state why you cannot vote in person. Anyone can be your proxy as long as they will be aged 16 years or over on 18 September 2014 and are a British, Irish, other European Union or qualifying Commonwealth citizen. They must also be willing to vote on your behalf. You will have to tell them how you want to vote.

 

This guide to voting at the referendum is available in a downloadable factsheet format on our resources page here.

 

*Qualifying Commonwealth citizens are people who have leave (permission) to enter or remain in the UK, do not need to have such leave or are treated as having such leave.



 

 

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