Scotland politics

Scottish independence: Young voter figures continue to rise

More than 98,000 people aged 16 and 17 have registered to vote in September's independence referendum.

The figure, published by the National Records of Scotland (NRS), represents about 80% of the 16 and 17-year-olds in Scotland.

The referendum will be the first time in Scotland that 16 and 17-year-olds have been able to cast their vote.

The deadline for registration to vote in the referendum is 2 September 2014.

Other elections, including those for the European Parliament in May, are restricted to over-18s.

The NRS figures showed the number of registered voters has increased across the board.

This included an increase of 57,288 in registered voters for the local government and Scottish Parliament elections compared to 1 December 2012, taking voter numbers to the highest level ever recorded.

By 10 March there were:

  • More than 98,000 16 and 17 year olds in Scotland - around 80% - registered to vote in the independence referendum
  • 4.12m people registered to vote in the local government and Scottish Parliament elections - an increase of 57,288 since 1 December 2012
  • 4.04m people registered to vote in the European Parliament elections - an increase of 58,737 since 1 December 2012

Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, who backs independence for Scotland, welcomed the publication.

"It is excellent news that so many of Scotland's young people have seized the opportunity to choose what type of country they want Scotland to be," she said.

"Our young people have responsibility for Scotland's future so it is only right that they are able to have a say in the most important vote to be held in Scotland for three centuries. And this level of interest clearly demonstrates that giving the vote to 16 and 17-year-olds is clearly the right thing to do.

"However our young people choose to voice their views, they will now be able to help decide if we should make the big decisions affecting our future here in Scotland or leave our destiny to be determined by others."

A spokesperson for the pro-Union Better Together said: "This is welcome news. Time and time again, in schools, colleges and universities across Scotland young people have taken part in debates and mock referendums and voted in huge numbers to remain part of the UK.

"The message we hear from young people is that they have no interest in the narrow nationalism being offered by the SNP. They think bigger than that.

"They want the best of both worlds. They want the opportunities that come from being part of the bigger UK and they want to have our own parliament with more powers guaranteed.

"That is exactly what they will be voting for in September."

The referendum takes place on 18 September, when voters will be asked the Yes/No question: "Should Scotland be an independent country?"

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