Scottish independence: Facebook and leaflet drop used in register to vote drive

Image source, PA
Image caption,
The deadline to register to votein the Scottish independence referendum is 2 September

The Electoral Commission is intensifying efforts to encourage people in Scotland to register to vote in next month's referendum.

The watchdog is working with social media and leafleting every household about signing up.

It has backed Facebook's new "life event" feature enabling people to tell friends they have registered to vote.

The ballot on 18 September will ask the "Yes/No" question: "Should Scotland be an independent country?"

More than 4.1m people had registered to vote by 10 March 2014, according to the Commission's most recent figures.

Those eligible to vote in Scotland include British, Irish and all other EU citizens as well as Commonwealth citizens.

For the first time in the UK, the minimum voting age in the referendum has been lowered to 16.

Interactive guide on how to register

On 18 September millions of voters in Scotland will be able to decide whether their country should become independent. But how do voters register and then cast their ballot? BBC Scotland reporter Andrew Black takes you through the steps in this interactive guide.

The Electoral Commission says that people must register to vote by 2 September.

Scottish Facebook users who visit the social network site over the next few weeks will see posts in their newsfeed about an interactive referendum guide from the commission.

Facebook politics and government specialist Elizabeth Linder said: "Millions of people from all walks of life use Facebook in Scotland, and have turned to Facebook in recent weeks to share their views on the independence debate.

"But participating in the debate online isn't enough to get your opinion counted on September 18.

"If you're not registered, you can't vote. It's that simple.

"We hope that by enabling millions of people in Scotland to see this guide in their Facebook newsfeed, more people will know how to cast their ballot and have their say."

As well as targeting young voters, the Electoral Commission is targeting other groups who are less likely to be registered to vote, including students and the homeless.

Alex Robertson, director of communication at the commission, said: "We're working hard to make sure we reach all potential voters with our information campaign but we don't want to take any chances.

"We're asking people to help spread the word and make sure that no one misses out on having their say.

"We've produced lots of resources that people can use to do this.

"They are free to use and anyone can get them from or by calling our helpline on 0800 3 280 280."

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