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Young voters urged to make sure they can take part in Referendum

02/06/14

Young voters who will never have voted before are being urged to make sure they are ready to take part in the Scottish Independence Referendum.

People who will be aged between 16 and 18 on September 18, the date of the referendum, and in particular those who will be heading off to further education or work after the summer, are urged to make sure they can participate.

Due to the confidential nature of the special young voters register, some young people may be unsure whether they are registered or not. The confidential register for young voters was introduced to keep private the details of 15 and 16 year olds who will be 16 or over on the date of the referendum and eligible to vote. It is not available for public inspection for personal safety reasons.

In addition to this, those who do know they are registered still need to think about where they will be on September 18, especially if they are heading away from home.

Many students will be moving into accommodation between the registration deadline of midnight on September 2, the postal vote deadline of 5pm on September 3 and the referendum on September 18. Others may be on work placements, apprenticeships or other employment-related induction courses away from home.

To address these issues, Grampian Electoral Registration Officer Ian Milton will be writing to all 11,000 young voters on the area's registers this week to advise that they are registered.

The message to all under 18s in the Grampian area who will be 16 or 17-years-old on September 18, is that if they do not get a letter this week, they are not registered to vote in the Scottish Independence Referendum. They can register by downloading a form from the Electoral Registration Office website or by contacting the office by email or phone.

Those who are registered and who don't already have a postal vote, about 10,500 people, will be sent a pre-populated postal vote application form and a reply paid envelope so that they can vote by post if they are not going to be at home on September 18 and therefore unable to vote in person at the nearby polling station.

Those who already have a postal vote will be advised of the likely date of issue of the postal ballot paper, so they can apply for a proxy vote if they are going to be away from home before the postal votes are sent out to electors.

"We want to get the message out to young people who want to have a say on the future of their country that if they are going to be aged 16 to 18 18 on September 18, they are qualified to vote and they do not get a letter from me, they need to register," said Mr Milton.

"If you are registered, you can also vote by post and we are making it easy for you to do that – simply send back the completed postal vote application form before September 3 to be able to vote in the weeks running up to the referendum."

If you are registered but going to be on holiday, on a work placement, at college or university, or otherwise unable to receive mail between August 26 and September 18, arrangements can be made for a friend or relative to vote on your behalf.

If you are not registered or have questions about voting by post or proxy, please telephone 01224 664848, email ero@grampian-ero.gov.uk, visit www.voteaberdeen.org, or write to or visit the Electoral Registration Office at Woodhill House, Westburn Road, Aberdeen AB16 5GE.