Scotland may become the first British nation to hand refugees and asylum seekers the vote, leading to concerns of election-rigging by pro-migration parties.
The power to make major changes to the Scottish electorate was devolved to Scotland’s regional administration in 2016, and the governing Scottish National Party (SNP) has already lowered the voting age to 16.
Now, a consultation document is suggesting the franchise be extended to everyone residing in Scotland legally, including non-citizens from outside the British Commonwealth and the European Union.
“As citizens from a very wide range of countries come to live and work in Scotland, it can be considered discriminatory to deny the right to vote to resident immigrants who are neither EU nor Commonwealth citizens,” the document suggests.
“It can be argued that it is undemocratic to give voting rights to some legal immigrants but not to others.
“It seems only just that everyone legally resident in Scotland should have voting rights, allowing them to influence government and parliamentary decision-making.”
The Scottish Green Party argued that the change would send the message that Scotland is a “welcoming” nation for migrants, with Scottish Parliament member Ross Greer telling The Scotsman: “Scotland is a welcoming country. Our history of taking in those in need of a safe home is a long one and continues today.
“It was only a few weeks ago we celebrated the 2,000th Syrian refugee to be settled here. What better way could we show refugees and asylum seekers that they truly are welcome and that Scotland is their home than by giving them the right to vote?
“It is only right that all those who live here and are affected by decisions made locally or nationally have a say in choosing those who make the decisions.”
Responding to Greer, a Scottish Government spokeswoman noted that the administration is “seeking views on extending who can vote in Scottish Parliament and local government elections, to include more people who are citizens of other countries but who have chosen to live here in Scotland.”
She added: “We agree that Scotland is a welcoming country, and we will carefully consider the call to give asylum seekers and refugees the opportunity to vote in elections where we have power to determine the franchise.”
But critics told Breitbart London that pro-migration parties, like the SNP and the Greens, could use such a policy to effectively import new voters to shore up support in marginal electoral constituencies.
“Moves to change the voting system in Scotland to allow refugees and asylum seekers a vote are a dangerous exercise in demographic gerrymandering by so-called progressive parties, who would stand to gain by implementing this change,” warned UKIP’s David Kurten.
“It would be easy to swing an election by directing migrants to live in marginal constituencies in order to obtain power. If this plan is implemented it will make a mockery of our democracy and will be a disgraceful display of putting British people last in our own country.”