JustRight Scotland submitted its response to the Scottish Government consultation on Electoral Reform in Scotland. Additionally, we submitted a separate joint response with Maryhill Integration Network, Scottish Refugee Council, and the Voices Network.
We focused on 4 main areas of interest:
- Extending the right for people in Scotland with limited leave to remain (LLR) to stand in both Scottish Parliament and Local Government elections.
- Extending the right to vote to asylum seekers who are residents of Scotland in both Scottish Parliament and Local Government elections, as they are directly impacted by decisions made by both these institutions. Giving asylum seekers the right to vote would make a powerful statement about belonging. It would demonstrate the right to an active role in the communities in which they are trying to rebuild their lives, a say in how their local neighbourhoods are structured, and how the country they now call home is being run.
- Improving accessibility in relation to registration forms as well as voting stations.
- Focusing on the negative impact of the Election Act 2022, as the introduction of the requirement to show photographic voter ID threatens to disenfranchise voters on a large-scale. Studies show that access to acceptable photo ID reproduces larger trends in inequality across the country, with marginalised groups being significantly less likely to have access to accepted photo ID.
We believe that extending the rights to vote and stand as candidates in elections to a broader range of people who have chosen to make Scotland their home, is an essential part of becoming a truly inclusive democracy.
We look forward to the positive changes that may come out of this consultation and look forward to the opportunity to build wider civic participation for people who have chosen to make Scotland their home.