Scottish ministers say Scots living outside the country will not be allowed to vote. Eligibility for the referendum will be determined under the same rules that govern Scottish parliamentary elections. The Scotland Act states that while people living abroad who were registered to vote in the UK in the previous 15 years can remain on the election register, this only allows voting in UK or European parliamentary elections. It does not allow voting in local elections or in elections to the devolved administrations of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Bruce Crawford, minister for government strategy, tells the Scottish parliament:
Hundreds of thousands of people born in Scotland now live elsewhere in the UK and beyond. The registration and validation of entitlement to vote would add significant complexity to the task of electoral professionals in organising and running the referendum.