Voters Support Election Reforms

By Robbie Dinwoodie
Published June 22nd 2004 in The Herald
AHEAD of tomorrow's ballot in the Scottish Parliament on voting reform for council elections, a pro-reform group published evidence yesterday suggesting that ordinary electors were in favour of change to a system of single transferable vote.

The all-party campaign organisation Fairshare asked voters about the importance of making councils more representative.
Around 72% of respondents agreed – 44% of them strongly – compared with 9% who disagreed with the idea, the organisation claimed.

The survey also asked whether MSPs should vote for the change even if local councillors were against the proposed reform.
The results of the opinion poll showed that 57% agreed, compared with 18% who disagreed.

Fairshare – the cross-party campaign in favour of the single transferable vote system which was recommended in the Kerley report – commissioned the survey from System Three, the pollster, earlier this month.

The final, stage 3 debate on the Local Governance (Scotland) Bill is scheduled to take place tomorrow.

Andrew Burns, a councillor and chairman of Fairshare, said: "The results of this most recent opinion poll have confirmed the findings of every opinion poll on this topic during the past four years.

"The Scottish people want their local councils made more representative of the communities they are elected to serve.

"We know some councillors are opposed to this reform, but the electors have given a clear message for their MSPs," Mr Burns said.

"It is the wishes of the voters that should be heeded when the MSPs cast their votes, not the noise made by some councillors who fear for their seats," he added.