CONTRA O GOLPE CIVIL EM CURSO E A FAVOR DA DEMOCRACIA
sábado, 13 de setembro de 2014
Scottish independence: 97% register to vote in referendum
A record number of people have registered to vote in the Scottish independence referendum, with 97% of the adult population now ready to take part in next week's vote.
A total of 4,285,323 makes this the largest electorate the country has ever known for any election or referendum.
The figure includes 118,640 voters who have registered in the last month alone, as well as 789,024 postal voters. It marks an increase of over 300,000 since the last Westminster election in 2012 and includes 16- and 17-year-olds who have had the vote extended to them for the first time.
The unprecedented levels of registration suggest that predictions of a high turnout next Thursday – Alex Salmond has said that he expects 80% – will come to pass. Turnout in Scotland for the 2010 Westminster election was 63.8%, dipping to 50.4% the following year for elections to the Holyrood parliament.
Much has been made in recent months of the so-called "missing million" – a term that describes both those eligible to vote but missing from the register as well as those who are registered but habitually do not vote – and whether they could swing the referendum result in favour of independence.
While pro-independence groups like the Radical Independence Campaign(RIC) have organised registration drives in some of Scotland's most deprived and disenfranchised areas, Labour and Better Together campaigners likewise claim they had brought in thousands of new voters who will back the union.
Jock Gordon, 39, a volunteer at the Galgael Trust in Govan, on Glasgow's south side and one of RIC's target areas, explains that he had "fallen through every gap in every system" after becoming homeless in 1993. Putting himself back on the register earlier in the summer, he describes the forthcoming referendum as "the one chance I've got to have my voice heard in a constructive way".
"This isn't for any political party. This is for the people of Scotland. It doesn't matter which way you vote as long as you're making an informed opinion."
28-year-old Lynsey MacGregor, another Galgael volunteer, came off the electoral roll to avoid a bank debt in her early twenties. She went to her local registration office as the midnight deadline was approaching last week. "The queue was out the door and there was one woman looking very harried with masses of forms."
"It was really exciting to see all these people who were like me, had never really voted, never been very interested or felt they could make a difference, thinking 'there's a point to this'. It just made me feel really hopeful."
This referendum is, says MacGregor, "the first time I've ever properly felt my vote would make a difference" and she will, like Gordon, be voting yes. A Survation poll for Thursday's Daily Record suggests that the yes campaign will win comfortably in Glasgow, and in central Scotland, but are behind in every other region.
Jonathan Shafi, co-founder of RIC, says that the figures are "testament to a movement which has been engaging with thousands of people over the past two years".
"I feel very confident that these newly registered voters will be voting yes. The reason that they have not voted before is because they feel alienated from the Westminster parties and from politics in general. People are seeing this referendum as a huge opportunity to restore democracy and grasp renewed objectives around social justice and peace."
For Des O'Sullivan, 31, a van driver who will be voting for the first time in next week's referendum, the mood in Glasgow is palpably for yes: "Everywhere you go, people are talking about it."
O'Sullivan says that he has never voted before through a mixture of disillusionment with the political system and a sense that "I didn't think it would affect my life".
But the fast approaching referendum has changed that. "People who were not exercised by any kind of politics see it as an opportunity to change how we organise our society."