Scottish Affairs CommitteeFurther supplementary written evidence submitted by The Electoral Commission

Electoral Commission Note of clarification:

Q 52: The Committee Chair asked the Commission for our views on the minimum timetable required for a well-run referendum. We indicated that it should be a minimum of 28 weeks but would like to clarify the timescales for each of the key phases within a PPERA referendum

We believe that there should be a period of at least 12 weeks between the campaign rules being finalised and the start of the regulated referendum period. This period would allow the Commission to complete, publish and distribute guidance and give campaigners an opportunity to become familiar with the guidance before the rules come into effect.

We are also of the view that at future PPERA referendums the statutory minimum referendum period should be at least 16 weeks, consisting of the current 28 day designation application period, the current 14 day designation decision period, and a minimum of 70 days between the final date for the designation decision and polling day. This would give designated lead campaign groups more time to plan and use the benefits that PPERA makes available to them in order to put campaign arguments to voters.

Together these key phases add up to a minimum of 28 weeks.

November 2011

Prepared 4th May 2012