Independence vote for teens

Teenagers who will be aged 16 or 17 on the date of next year's independence referendum can register to vote from today.

Overseas military children may have vote in referendum

Children of armed forces personnel living abroad with their parents will have a vote in the independence referendum under legislation likely to be approved at Holyrood today.

Teenagers aged 16 and 17 are eligible to vote in the referendum but no mechanism exists to allow children of overseas military personnel to have their say.

Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has proposed a remedy through an amendment to the Scottish Independence Referendum Bill which enters the first stage of parliamentary scrutiny at Holyrood's Referendum Bill Committee today.

In a letter to the committee's convener, Ms Sturgeon said:

"The Scottish Government's referendum legislation applies current arrangements for the registration of service personnel to the referendum. These include provision that the spouses or civil partners are entitled to register to vote via a service declaration.

"However, this facility does not extend to children of those with a service qualification, because the voting age for reserved elections is 18.

"As the voting age for the referendum has been lowered to 16, and 16 and 17-year-olds are more likely to still reside with their parents, it is possible that this could have the effect of preventing some young people living outside Scotland to be with parents in the services from registering to vote.

"I therefore intend to bring forward an amendment which would amend the Franchise Act to provide a mechanism for such young people aged 16 or 17 on the date of the referendum to register to vote in it, if they can provide an address where they would be resident in Scotland were it not for the fact that they reside at a place to be with a parent or guardian who has a service qualification.

"For those who cannot provide such an address, a previous address in Scotland can be given."

– Nicola Sturgeon, Deputy First Minister

Electoral Commission encouraging teens to vote

The Electoral Commission has launched an advertising campaign on radio and Facebook.

It has also been working with educational bodies the Association of Directors in Education Scotland, Education Scotland and School Leaders Scotland to help co-ordinate work in schools.

"We're supporting the work registration officers are doing locally by launching a campaign to raise awareness that anyone who will be sixteen on September 18 2014 can register to vote.

"Teachers can play an important part in helping raise awareness and we'd encourage anyone else that works with young people to help spread the message by using the resources we're making available at aboutmyvote.co.uk."

– ANDY O'NEILL, HEAD OF THE ELECTORAL COMMISSION'S SCOTLAND OFFICE

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Teenagers can now register for independence vote

Teenagers who will be aged 16 or 17 on the date of next year's independence referendum can register to vote from today.

Anyone who is 16 or above on September 18th next year can go to the polls. It is the first time people under 18 have been allowed to participate in UK political vote.

They will be asked the "yes/no" question: "Should Scotland be an independent country?"

Electoral registration officers will be canvassing residents across Scotland.

As well as the usual household registration forms, people will also be given young voter forms, to allow details to be collected of everyone who will be aged 16 and 17 on referendum day.

"If you want to have your say at the referendum, you need to be on the electoral register.

"Whoever completes the household registration form should also take the time to think about whether there's anyone in the household who will be 16 or 17 on September 18th, 2014 and if so, put their details on the young voter form."

– Andy O'Neill, head of the Electoral Commission's Scotland office