First of all, let’s look at the facts. On November 9, an important cross-section of Catalan society went to vote. Was it a referendum? Or was it –as the Catalan government insisted – a “non-referendum consultation”? Technically it was neither. Instead, it was a kind of peaceful manifestation, a massive civic ceremony symbolically consisting of putting ballots inside of boxes. It did not meet even the most basic standards of an official referendum. It had no legal basis (and in fact had been suspended by Spain’s constitutional court), no list of registered voters, no impartial staff at voting booths, no legally bound electoral management bodies etc… If this were not enough, we found out on Monday that some voting venues would be open until….the end of the month! No this was something different: an original, massive, protest event. As such, it was highly successful, regardless of what the Spanish government says. They seem to be sticking to the ostrich’s approach.
What do the results say? What about the numbers? Assuming that the figures given by the organisers are accurate, then around 2,250,000 people have voted. There were about 5,400,000 people on the list of registered voters in the last election in 2012. But in this “informal referendum”, sixteen and seventeen year olds could vote as well as non-Spanish immigrants. Taking this into account, the theoretical list of “registered” voters rises to around 6,250,000 people. Given these figures, it seems that only around 33 percent of people voted.
Sure, lots of people took part, but it was still just a third of possible voters, much less than the usual turnout of between 56 and 66 percent in Catalan regional elections. But still, had there been a turnout of 65% say, voters supporting independence would still not have reached 50% of the total. Let’s not forget that around 80 percent of voters, around 1.7 million people, said yes to independence. The other 20 percent voted no or submitted a blank vote.
Full Article: Catalonia referendum: a reality check | openDemocracy.