Strengthening Democratic Processes
Legislation which aims to enhance Scotland’s democratic processes has been published in the Scottish Parliament.
The Scottish Elections (Representation and Reform) Bill includes provisions to encourage the piloting of electoral innovations such as digital polling cards, and provides powers for elections to be rescheduled in emergencies – for example a Covid-style health emergency.
Under the Bill, foreign nationals living and working in Scotland on a time-limited visa would become eligible to stand as candidates in Scottish Parliament and local government elections, in addition to their existing voting rights.
If passed by the Scottish Parliament, the legislation would ban people from being MSPs if they are found guilty of intimidating campaigners and electoral workers.
The Bill, introduced to the Parliament by the Scottish Government, also proposes changes to campaign rules for elections to improve fairness, transparency and controls against foreign spending. It will also allow Ministers to provide funding to drive up democratic engagement.
Following the responses to the extensive public consultation, the bill does not propose extending candidacy rights to 16- and-17-year-olds.