Scotland’s Electoral Data 3: Electorate Change

The data:

The Electoral Commission publishes data on all of the UK’s elections. As well as results, this includes data on turnout, vote validity, registration and much more. You can explore this data yourself here:

The kernel of this post grew from the following press release:

This was released prior to the Referendum on Leaving the EU and contained electorate figures and initial comparison.

The analysis:

This third electoral data analysis looks at changes to the electorate. Since 2010 there have been two General Elections, two Scottish Parliamentary Elections, and two major referendums.

Voter eligibility changes between these on varying grounds including age and citizenship. Population changes also come into play. The analysis here is not on those factors but on the observed changes.

Electorate data at a national and local authority level was identified, and proportions and comparisons calculated.

The outputs:

Figure 1: Change in Electorate Size between UK General Election 2015 and EU Referendum 2016
Figure 2: Percentage change in electorate between consecutive pairs of recent voting events
Figure 3: Electorate Change in Scotland since 2010 General Election
Figure 4: Electorate change (as count and percentage of 2014 electorate) between the Scottish Independence Referendum and the EU Referendum, by Scottish Local Authority.


A lot of questions at a whole lot of different levels of detail — I’m going to go for five but there are probably fifty worth thinking about:

  1. Is there a reason why Northern Ireland is the only nation to have seen no negative change in electorate numbers in recent voting events? (Luck? Demographic structure? Registration mechanism / campaign? Societal changes?)
  2. Are the components of Scotland’s electorate change quantified and where does Scotland’s future electorate trajectory head?
  3. Do fluctuating eligibility criteria lead to voter confusion and/or apathy in subsequent ballots?
  4. There is significant variation in electorate change across Scottish Local Authorities across a relatively short time frame between independence and EU referendums. What is the relative impact of likely key drivers (e.g. age and citizenship requirements) and how does this vary by regions?
  5. Of the evident changes in electorate size between nations or regions, what is the scale of ‘transfer’ of voters from one region or nation to another?