Select Committee on Scottish Affairs Fifth Report

6  Conclusion

Putting the voter's interests first

88. We were deeply concerned by the events of 3 May. Bureaucratic delay cannot be allowed to undermine Scotland's long democratic tradition. We agree with Mr Gould that the voter should be placed at the heart of the electoral process. This may seem an obvious statement, but it was the failure to consider the voter's perspective that led to many of the problems of the 3 May elections in Scotland. We are pleased to note the Minister's statement that "putting ordinary voters front and centre of this has got to be the motif for moving this process on"[102] and we expect the Scotland Office to act accordingly.

89. The independent review of the Scottish elections needs to be seen as an opportunity to restore fully the integrity of the electoral process, and not to bring about a 'quick fix' by accepting only the simplest and least controversial recommendations. Although some proposals can be implemented immediately, others will require significant further research. Throughout our inquiry, witnesses have indicated that the problems underlying the 3 May experience are unlikely to be unique to Scotland. The Scotland Office therefore needs to co-ordinate its action with other government departments as well as bodies such as the Electoral Commission and local electoral officials to ensure that the integrity of the UK's complex electoral landscape is restored.

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