The 2014 Scottish Independence referendum

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1 The 2014 Scottish Independence referendum Voting guide Easy read version

2 This booklet tells you about an important vote happening on Thursday 18 September The vote is to decide if Scotland should: be a country on its own or stay part of the United Kingdom (or UK for short). The vote is called the referendum. This referendum is a vote where people are asked one question. They can either vote yes or no.

3 This booklet tells you: about the vote how to take part in the referendum why some people think you should vote yes or no in the referendum what will happen after the vote how to find out more.

4 This is an easy read version of another booklet about the vote. You may like to have someone to support you when you look at this booklet.

5 About the vote At the moment the government in London is in charge of the UK. The UK is a group of countries that are: England Northern Ireland Wales Scotland. There is also another government just for Scotland. They are in charge of things in Scotland like: health

6 schools and colleges what happens when people break the law. Some people want Scotland to be independent. They want the Scottish Government to be in charge of everything in Scotland. The referendum will find out what the people of Scotland think about this.

7 Who can vote To vote on Thursday 18 September 2014 you need to: be 16 years old or older on voting day live in Scotland be British or Irish, or from other European Union or Commonwealth countries. You also need to be registered to vote. We tell you more about this next. You can find out more about who can vote on this website:

8 About registering to vote To vote you need to be registered. A while ago you should have been sent a form in the post asking you if you wanted to be able to vote this year. If you filled this form in and sent it back to your local electoral registration office then you should be able to vote. If you are not sure if you did this your local electoral registration office can tell you. If you do need to register to vote you will need to complete a voter registration form.

9 You can get a form from your local electoral registration office or from the website. The website to find their address or download a form is Once you have filled in the form you need to post it to your local electoral registration office. You need to be registered by Tuesday 2 September 2014 to vote in the referendum.

10 How to vote To vote you will get a form. It is called a ballot paper and looks like this. On the ballot paper you will be asked: Should Scotland be an independent country? You vote yes if you want Scotland to leave the UK. To vote yes you put a cross in the YES box. You vote no if you want Scotland to stay in the UK. To vote no you put a cross in the NO box. There are three ways to vote in the referendum and we tell you about these next.

11 Voting at the polling station You can go to a polling station near you to vote on Thursday 18 September. This is how most people vote. It is easy and there are people there to help you. Before you vote you will get something in the post called a poll card. The poll card will tell you where your polling station is. It is often a nearby school or community centre. If you do not receive your poll card contact your council to find out where your polling station is. Polling stations are open from 7am until 10pm.

12 Voting by post If you want to vote by post you need to fill in a form. It needs to be with your local electoral registration office by 5pm on Wednesday 3 September. Your local council will send you a ballot paper which you need to fill in and post back by Thursday 18 September. If you have not received your ballot paper by Friday 12 September you should contact your local council. You can find out more about this on our website:

13 A proxy vote A proxy vote is when you get someone you trust to vote for you. If you want to do this you need to fill in a form. You can get the form from Your local electoral registration office needs to get the form by 5pm on Wednesday 3 September. If you can t vote on the day because you are ill or really can t make it then you might still be able to do a proxy vote. Call your local council for help. Remember you still need to be registered to vote before you can do any of these things.

14 Information from campaigners We asked campaigners to give you some information on why they think you should vote yes or no. Campaigners are people who try to persuade you what to vote for.

15 Some people think you should vote Yes A message from Yes Scotland We are called Yes Scotland. We want people to vote Yes in the referendum. We want an independent Scotland. Scotland has a big choice to make this year. If we vote Yes we can make our own decisions so we will all be richer and do better. Scotland is one of the richest countries in the world. This means we can afford to do well on our own.

16 We can do more with the money we have for everyone who lives here. We can do things like: look after older people make life easier for young families. If we vote No we will stay part of the UK. We might get more London governments that people in Scotland did not vote for. This is a big chance to make things better. You can find out more on our website. It is

17 Some people think you should vote No A message from Better Together We are called Better Together. We think Scotland should stay as part of the UK. If we vote No we will stay part of the UK and we will be safer. But we will also be able to make more decisions about what happens in Scotland in the future. If we vote for Scotland to leave the UK then we do not know what would happen.

18 It might mean: we pay more for our homes, loans and credit cards we risk our pensions big employers move from Scotland to England and people may lose their jobs. If we vote to leave the UK our minds later on. we can t change You can find out more on our website. It is

19 What will happen after the vote If most people vote Yes If more people vote Yes Scotland will leave the UK and will become a country on its own. This is called independence. This would not happen straight away. People from Scotland would talk to people from the rest of the UK. These talks are called negotiations. When the talks are happening things would stay the same. The Scottish Government would carry on until the next normal election to the Scottish Parliament in May 2016 to decide which Scottish politicians should run the country.

20 There will also be talks about what happens to some of the things that Scotland and the rest of the UK share at the moment. This could be things like money we owe to other countries and things we have paid for jointly. After the talks are finished the Scottish Parliament will make all the decisions about running the country, including choosing all of Scotland s laws.

21 If most people vote No If more people vote No Scotland will stay a part of the UK. The UK Government and Scottish Government will carry on as they are now. The Scottish Government will stay until the next normal election to the Scottish Parliament in May The Scottish and UK Governments will carry on working together on some changes. The main change is that the Scottish Parliament will decide part of the income tax people pay.

22 Income tax is money that people who work pay. They pay it to the Government for the things that everyone needs, like healthcare. And any other changes will be decided by the UK Parliament talking to the Scottish Parliament.

23 How to find out more You can: go to our website. It is or phone

24 Produced by The Electoral Commission Lothian Chambers, George IV Bridge, Edinburgh EH1 1RN

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