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Proposal for universal postal and online voting

Polling booths could be scrapped and replaced by postal or online voting in an attempt to increase voter turnout in Scotland.

The suggestion is in a Scottish Government consultation on the future of local and parliamentary elections.

It looks at adopting universal postal voting, which would see everyone on the electoral register given a ballot at home instead of asking them to go to a polling station. An alternative would be to keep booths so people can choose to hand in their ballots.

Other ideas include putting electronic machines in booths, using digital technology or telephone voting.

Turnout for council ­elections dropped from 58% in 1999 to just 39% in 2012. Scottish Parliament election turnout fell from almost 59% in 1999 to just in excess of 50% in 2011.

Local government ­minister Derek Mackay said: "Voter turnout for local government and Scottish Parliament elections has been in decline, and we are determined to challenge that trend.

"It is important that every effort is made to increase voter participation, and this consultation proposes a number of ambitious measures to help us do that."

The consultation, which runs until July 11, also looks at allowing 16- and 17-year-olds to vote, following from the decision to extend the franchise to younger people in the referendum.

Contextual targeting label: 
Local government

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