A new voting scandal has emerged which means that thousands of vulnerable pensioners in care homes across Scotland could be denied their right to vote in today’s General Election. The new registration system, brought in the day after the independence referendum, banned block voting which means that the elderly and frail being looked after in nursing homes had to register individually for the first time, particularly those who require a postal vote. However, The National can reveal that there are older people who are still waiting for their postal vote months after the deadline, and that the problem is said to be far-reaching. Scottish cabinet minister Alex Neil warned that this was just be the tip of the iceberg, and expressed concern that the problem was “widespread”. He called on the Electoral Commission to investigate the scandal and ensure pensioners in nursing homes are registered to vote in time for the Scottish Parliament elections next year because it was too late now to “sort out the mess” in time for the General Election.
Neil, who is Cabinet Secretary for Social Justice, Communities and Pensioners’ Rights and former Health Minister, said: “This is absolutely outrageous because these elderly people are being denied their democratic opportunity to vote through no fault of their own.
“The Electoral Commission has to investigate this as a matter of urgency and make sure this doesn’t happen again because clearly it is totally unacceptable.
“It is now too late for this election but they need to make sure that before the Scottish Parliament elections next year they have a far better system operating to ensure that everybody, including people living in nursing homes, get the opportunity to vote, and if they decide not to vote it is their decision, not someone else’s.