I have been having a look around the Electoral Statistics as held at the National Records of Scotland and something jumped out at me.
If we look at the electoral statistics for the General Election and Scottish Elections between 2015 and 2017, something odd occurs.
The table below illustrates it well:
|Total Electorate in Scotland as listed for the UK Parliament||4,035,394||3,950,643|
|Total Electorate in Scotland as listed for Local Government and the Scottish Parliament||4,131,926||4,121,140|
What’s more is that the number of postal voters has increased 48% since 2010. It has risen from around 490,000 to 730,000 in 7 years. That’s 35,000 people per year going onto the postal vote register.
If we look at the postal voters first, you can see from the below chart that the difference in the number of people registered in the same year for UK elections and for Scottish elections has remained consistent between 2010 and 2014. In 2014, there were around 11,000 people more registered as postal voters in Scotland for Scottish elections compared to UK elections. In 2016 there were near 15,000 extra Scottish postal voters and in 2017, there were near 16,000 extra in Scotland.
Offsetting these numbers across the years, there are some 41,748 extra postal voters in Scotland that are registered to partake in Scottish elections, but not in UK elections.
Odd isn’t it? Let’s look at the general electorate and see if the same applies here?
Again, as can be seen from the below chart, the number of voters registered in Scotland to vote at UK elections versus those in Scotland registered to vote at Scottish elections has remain fairly steady between 2009 and 2014. In 2014 and 2015, those numbers jumped to show that there were around 17,000 extra voters in Scotland in 2014 and 11,000 extra voters in 2015.
Offsetting those numbers across the years, there are some 31,442 extra voters in Scotland that are registered for Scottish Elections versus UK Elections. That means that there are a combined difference of 73,190 extra voters in Scotland, which seemed, in the main to appear from March 2014 onwards.
Now I am aware that there were major changes to the electoral register in 2014, the change being that the UK moved away from household registration to individual registration. Now, normally, and as evidenced in England, there are some 800,000 people missing from the register in England due to this change, however, in Scotland (for Scottish elections) there appears to be an increase of around 80,000. What are the chances of that?
The thing is, this only paints half the picture.
If we compare the actual numbers over the years, the picture becomes even more difficult to understand.
From 2009 until 2012, the figure related to the electorate registered in Scotland who vote in UK Elections and those who vote in Scottish elections remained almost exactly the same. Between 2012 and 2015, the Scottish elections figure jumps higher, then post 2014 they both plummet from around 4,050,000 to 3,900,000. A loss of some 150,000 voters from Scotland.
Where did they go?
Well it may surprise you to learn that this change in the electoral registration system is what will be used to allocate the new boundaries in 2022 where Scotland stands to lose up to 6 Westminster seats (all held by the SNP) whilst the Tories in the rUK gain 20+ seats.
So where Scotland had 4,050,000 registered voters prior to the changes to the electoral registration process in 2014 and had 59 Westminster seats, 5 years on from the 2017 General Election, the new boundaries will only have around 3,950,000 voters and as a result will likely only give Scotland 53 Westminster seats.
So not only did Scotland find itself with and extra 80,000 voters around 2014, it has somehow managed to lose a combined 170,000 post 2015.
Then, of course, Westminster roll out further boundary reforms which i am 100% sure will of be complete benefit to Scotland, independence and of course the SNP….
It may be a coincidence but Scotland has terrible luck with voter’s registration around important votes.
What is the swing number of voters needed to gain independence again?