Friday, 3 September 2010

The Electoral Commission Reports

Report of our views on the
proposed referendum question

Referendum on the law-making powers of the National Assembly for Wales

2 September 2010

We assessed the clarity of a
proposed question for a referendum
on the law-making powers of the
National Assembly for Wales. We
carried out research to find out how
well the question could be
understood by voters, and we have
used the findings to suggest
improvements to the question.

We want to make sure that the referendum
question voters are asked to consider on polling
day is easy to understand so that people know
what they are voting on. The Secretary of State
for Wales asked us on 23 June 2010 to consider
the clarity of the proposed referendum question
(which includes an explanatory introduction)
found on the back page of this summary.

To assess the proposed question, we carried out
research with voters, took advice from
accessibility and plain language specialists and
asked would-be campaigners, politicians and
other interested people to comment on the
wording. We asked for 10 weeks to carry out this
work and appreciate that the Secretary of State
allowed us this time.
Challenges with the
wording of the question
Our voter research revealed issues with the
proposed question that it would have been
difficult to anticipate without testing it thoroughly.

One of the main challenges the drafters of the
question faced was complexity: the referendum
is about a constitutional process that is unfamiliar
to most people. Many people are unaware of the
referendum, what it is about, or even what a
referendum is. This lack of awareness caused
research participants problems when trying to
answer the proposed question.

Read it in full here


Ways of informing and educating the public of the issues involved

Leafleting the Welsh electorate
Poster campaign
Broadcasts on radio/TV

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