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The referendum and the role of the Electoral Commission

McHarg, Aileen (2013) The referendum and the role of the Electoral Commission. Scottish Constitutional Futures Forum.

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Abstract

On Wednesday, the Electoral Commission published its much anticipated reports on the question to be asked in the 2014 independence referendum and on campaign spending limits. On the referendum question, while the Commission found that the question proposed by the Scottish Government – ‘Do you agree that Scotland should be an independent country? Yes/No’ – was easy to understand, to the point, not ambiguous, and did not mislead voters, there were nevertheless substantial concerns about the neutrality of the question. It therefore recommended a minor rewording – ‘Should Scotland be an independent country? Yes/No. It also recommended substantial increases on the campaign spending limits which had been proposed by the Scottish Government, in order to allow campaigning on a scale comparable to that for a Scottish Parliament election. Both recommendations were promptly accepted by the Scottish Government.