Publication - Research and analysis

Electoral reform: consultation analysis

Published: 12 Oct 2018

Analysis of Electoral Reform consultation.

Electoral reform: consultation analysis
2. About the respondents and responses

2. About the respondents and responses

2.1 This chapter presents information about the respondents and types of responses received in the consultation.

Number of responses received

2.2 Altogether, 953 responses were received. Of these, 42 were removed prior to analysis for the following reasons:

  • 26 responses were removed because they did not contain both a valid name and valid contact address. To be included as a valid response, a respondent had to give both a name – a first name or first initial and a surname – and a postal address or valid email address. Clearly false names (e.g. the names of fictional characters, etc.) were counted as not valid.
  • 15 respondents submitted more than one response to the consultation. In most cases, these respondents submitted two different responses (one individual submitted three different responses), although in a small number of cases the second response was an exact duplicate of the first response. All duplicate responses were removed, and multiple different responses from a single individual were combined to form a single composite response. This resulted in the removal of a further 16 responses.

2.3 Thus, the analysis was based on 911 responses (Table 2.1).

Table 2.1: Responses included in the analysis

Number of responses received: 953
Number of responses removed:
  • Missing a valid name or a valid contact address
- 26
  • Duplicate / multiple responses removed
- 16
Total responses: 911

The respondents

2.4 Respondents were asked to specify whether they were submitting their response as an individual, or on behalf of an organisation or group. Most respondents (n=844; 93%) were individuals (Table 2.2). The ‘individual’ category includes a number of respondents who identified themselves as ‘returning officers’.

Table 2.2: Types of respondent

Respondent type n %
Individuals 844 93%
Organisations or groups 67 7%
Total respondents 911 100%

2.5 Table 2.3 presents details about the organisations that responded to the consultation. The largest group of organisational respondents comprised third sector groups of various kinds. This category of respondents included organisations with a primary focus on electoral issues and democratic processes as well as organisations representing the interests of different equality groups (e.g. disability, gender, etc.). Together, these organisations comprised nearly two-fifths (39%) of all the organisational respondents. Responses were also received from local authorities and other public sector organisations; political organisations; electoral bodies (i.e. those with a role in administering voter registration and elections, or representing those who are involved in such activities); and campaign groups. A final category of ‘other organisations’ included professional and representative bodies, and electoral technology providers.

Table 2.3: Types of organisational respondents

Organisation type n %
Third sector organisations 26 39%
Public sector organisations 15 22%
Political organisations 7 10%
Electoral organisations 6 9%
Campaign groups 4 6%
Other organisations 9 13%
Total organisations 67 100%

2.6 See Annex 1 for a full list of organisational / group respondents.

Responses to individual questions

2.7 As noted above, there were 911 responses to the consultation. However, not all respondents answered all the consultation questions.

2.8 More respondents answered the closed (tick-box) questions as compared with the open questions. In particular, between 74% and 82% of respondents answered each of the closed questions, while the percentage of respondents answering open questions generally ranged from 15% to 46%. The one exception to this was in relation to Question 18, which invited views about how long someone should be resident in Scotland before they become eligible to vote. This open question was answered by 63% of respondents.

2.9 Note that, in general, a relatively small number of organisational respondents answered any of the consultation’s closed questions. Organisational respondents often indicated that the answers to the closed questions were a matter of policy and it was not for them to express a view – although many provided comments discussing implementation issues. In some cases, organisations suggested that the way in which the question was phrased (e.g. Questions 12 and 13 in particular, regarding the use of electronic voting machines and internet or mobile voting) indicated to them that these questions were intended for individuals and not organisational respondents.

2.10 Annex 2 provides details of the percentage of respondents who answered each of the consultation questions.

Other views submitted in the consultation

2.11 In relation to several of the consultation questions, respondents sometimes expressed views that were not directly related to the question asked but were often relevant to the broader issue of electoral policy and electoral reform. These views are summarised briefly in Annex 3 of this report.