BBC News – Scottish independence: What is the 16 week referendum period for?

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Scotland Decides

Go to the BBC’s Scotland Decides web page for evaluation, background and explainers on the independence debate.

A new chapter in the Scottish independence referendum story is about to be written – as a result of we have now entered into the official marketing campaign period.

Voters north of the border will go to the polls on 18 September when they are going to be requested the “Yes/No” query: “Should Scotland be an unbiased nation?”

They’ve received about 16 weeks to pay attention, watch and skim all the arguments – from each side of the marketing campaign – with a purpose to make up their minds.

But what is this marketing campaign period all about? Here’s every little thing you’d need to know….

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What is the referendum period?

Forth Bridge

It’s a timeframe in the run as much as the 18 September vote itself to make sure the marketing campaign is fought pretty, and goals to offer a degree enjoying subject in relation to points like spending.

It has been set out in the Scottish government’s Referendum Act, which incorporates the guidelines for the marketing campaign.

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Why 16 weeks?


This has roots in the final huge referendum seen in the UK – the 2011 poll on changing the way MPs are elected.

In its post-AV referendum report, the Electoral Commission advisable the 10-week period be elevated to at the very least 16 weeks, to permit extra time for the important campaigns to place their arguments to voters.

This 16-week period is additionally in keeping with the marketing campaign spending period for Scottish Parliament elections.

And it is to not be confused with the referendum “purdah period”, which prevents authorities from saying new laws. That begins on 21 August.

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Spending limits


Anyone can splash as much as £10,000 on campaigning throughout the referendum period. Any extra, although, and they should register with the Electoral Commission watchdog.

The fundamental opposing campaigns for independence and the Union – Yes Scotland and Better Together – every get to spend £M.5m throughout the referendum period, underneath their “lead campaigner” standing.

They additionally get free stuff, like a voter mailshot and complimentary use of sure public areas.

In phrases of political events, the SNP is allowed to spend £M,344,000 whereas the Greens – Holyrood’s different professional-independence get together – have a £one hundred fifty,000 restrict.

Scottish Labour will get to spend £831,000, the Scottish Conservatives £399,000 and the Scottish Liberal Democrats, £204,000.

Aye and Naw cards

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What are the referendum campaigns all about? We clarify.

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Rule breaking


Exceeding a spending restrict is a felony offence and the Electoral Commission has powers to impose civil sanctions.

The Crown Office – Scotland’s legal prosecution service – can even prosecute offences via the courts.

Campaign materials is topic to the ordinary legal guidelines which cowl issues like defamation, copyright and intention to fire up racial hatred.

The Electoral Commission does not regulate marketing campaign materials.

The police are liable for investigating alleged offences, whereas defamation points are a matter for the civil courts.

John McCormick

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What is the Electoral Commission’s position in the referendum?

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Who can marketing campaign?

Alex Salmond

Members of the public can search for registered campaigners via the Electoral Commission.

The guidelines permit all kinds of official campaigners, from people to teams, corporations and commerce unions – so long as they’re registered in the UK.

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Deadlines, deadlines, deadlines


Campaigners have to ship month-to-month donation and mortgage studies to the Electoral Commission, the first of those due on Tuesday H July.

Those who’ve spent £250,000 or much less have to ship of their spending returns by 18 December 2014, whereas these which have spent greater than that get till 18 March, subsequent yr.

And keep in mind, if you wish to vote in the referendum, you must be registered by midnight on 2 September. The software deadline for a postal or proxy vote is 17:00 the subsequent day.

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Press guidelines

BBC Scotland

News reviews, options and editorials in print or on-line media are usually not topic to electoral regulation, says the Electoral Commission.

Broadcasters should persist with guidelines on impartiality and tips on learn how to obtain this have been revealed by both the BBC and regulator Ofcom.

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Referendum re-run?

Voting booth

The likelihood is that the referendum will probably be carried out and dusted when a end result is declared on 19 September.

However, the outcome is open to problem by judicial assessment, offered a case is introduced inside six weeks of the end result B:07 am – Source:

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