Rise in registered voters in the Isles

The number of people registered to vote in elections in the Western Isles has continued to rise, according to figures published by National Records of Scotland.

The total electorate for Eilean Siar now stands at 22,313. Meanwhile 587 young people who will be aged 16 or 17 at the time of the referendum on independence this September have registered on the electoral role for the first time.

Commenting on the figures Western Isles SNP MSP, Alasdair Allan, said: “There is an increase in the electorate caused by the eligibility of 16 and 17 year olds to vote for the first time and it’s great to see so many have taken the opportunity to vote in this historic moment for Scotland.”

He continued: “My impression is that over and above that there is an even higher than usual registration of voters throughout the country, indicating a high referendum turnout is likely.”

Highlands and Islands Labour MSP, Rhoda Grant has also welcomed the rise.

She said: “People are becoming more engaged in the political process as we move closer to the Independence Referendum, one of the most important political decisions the people of Scotland will ever take. The numbers of people who are becoming active and more involved is really encouraging to see.

“The even better news is that there are increasing numbers of young people who are registering to vote, traditionally the 18-24 age group have had the lowest turnout at elections. That 16 and 17 year olds will also be able to vote in the independence referendum will hopefully foster a new generation of enthusiastic voters who will not only vote in September but every other vote that follows in the future. Engaging more young people will hopefully reverse the decline in young voters.”