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Scotland Act 2012

Section 2: Combination of polls at Scottish Parliamentary and other reserved elections

20.This section amends section 15 of the Representation of the People Act 1985 so as to require that, where Scottish Parliamentary general elections and UK or European Parliamentary general elections are held on the same day, they are to be taken together. Under section 15(5), the Secretary of State is given the power to make such provision as he thinks fit in connection with the combination of polls. This might include making modifications to the rules which would otherwise apply to the conduct of those elections to ensure that the two polls being taken together are subject to consistent rules. As a result of the amendment made by section 2, this power extends to a combination of polls which includes a Scottish Parliamentary general election. Subsection (3) amends section 15(3) so that the elections which returning officers have discretion to combine under section 15(2) include Scottish Parliamentary elections. This would allow, for example, the combination of the poll for a Scottish Parliamentary by election with the poll at a general election to the House of Commons.

21.Subsection (4) inserts new subsection (3ZA) into section 15; this provides that the discretion of returning officers under subsection (2) does not extend to determining that a Scottish Parliamentary election and a local government election in Scotland are to be taken together.

22.Subsection (5) inserts new subsection (5C) to section 15, requiring the Secretary of State to consult Scottish Ministers before making combination rules under subsection (5) where one of the elections is a Scottish Parliamentary election or a local government election in Scotland.

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