Currently only registered crofters (including those of deemed crofts) and owner-occupied crofters aged 16 years or older can vote in the crofting election.
The 2012 election operated on the basis of one vote per croft but a crofter could only have one vote no matter how many crofts they had. If a crofter had crofts in more than one constituency, the constituency where they were eligible to vote was the one where they lived. For a very small number of more complex cases where the crofter did not reside in the constituency where any of their crofts was located, a decision on the constituency where the crofter was eligible to vote was taken by the Chief Executive of the Crofting Commission.
Only the crofter is permitted to vote, not spouses or other family members. The Scottish Government thinks that crofters who are not fulfilling their residency duty should not be allowed to vote in the 2017 election. However, they suggest that those crofters who have been granted consent to be absent, and those whose applications to lease their crofts on a short lease have been approved, should be eligible to vote. This is the same basis on which the 2012 crofting elections operated.
Question 3: Should voter eligibility operate on the same basis as for the 2012 crofting election?
All 15 respondents answered this question with a majority of 11 respondents agreeing that voter eligibility should operate as for the 2012 election and four respondents disagreeing. All of the organisations who responded favoured the status quo which they perceived to be fair and reasonable.
Question 4: If you have any other comments on voter eligibility please include these here.
Two respondents, the National Farmers' Union Scotland and an individual respondent, both recommended that in future the crofting census data form the basis of the voter register. One individual respondent provided their view that if a crofter does not return a completed census form then they should not be eligible to vote.
According to another individual respondent, in the 2012 election some crofters ended up with more than one ballot paper on account of having multiple crofts and their name registered in different ways for each. They emphasised that care should be taken to ensure that this situation is not repeated.
One individual commented that for the assessment of the duty compliance status, residence and activity is now dependent on a specific legal process, so excluding crofters from voting should only occur when this process has been concluded in respect of the individual crofter. They recommended that historic data relating to absentee crofters should not be used for assessments.
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