Referendum rules ‘should be reviewed’

Calls for the referendum rules to be reviewed have been made by the Scottish Parliament

Calls for the referendum rules to be reviewed have been made by the Scottish Parliament

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The voting age should be cut to 16 in all ballots following its “huge success” in the Scottish independence referendum, a report has recommended.

The Electoral Reform Society (ERS) also urged a “root-and-branch inquiry” into how the UK should conduct referenda in future.

The report spoke of “glaring democratic deficiencies’’ in the EU referendum campaign, leaving voters feeling ‘’ill-informed’’ and disengaged.

The ERS proposes there be a regulated campaign of at least six months before any future referendum ballot is held to “allow the public enough time to get to grips with the issues”.

The report said that in the run-up to the EU referendum “people felt consistently ill-informed”, while in contrast the debate over Scotland’s future in the UK “was given enough time to bed in with the electorate” and there was more deliberation among friends, family and community groups.

The report said the political “big beasts” in the EU campaign “largely failed to engage or convince voters to their side, with many voters appearing switched off by the ‘usual suspects’.”