The commission endorses concerns raised by local authorities, politicians and the electorate that the referendum question is potentially misleading, biased and difficult to understand. The commission would welcome the opportunity to work with government in revising the question
The commission's chairman, Sam Younger said: 'Information is critical to voter turnout. In the run up to a referendum, voters must know what they are voting for and understand the issues as well as the consequence of their vote.' In view of this, the commission recommends that factual information about what the referendum is about should be made available to the electorate in the lead up to the day it takes place.
The full report is available on the Electoral Commission's website.
- The Electoral Commission is independent of government and aims to ensure openness and transparency in the financial affairs of Britain's political parties, and to increase public confidence and participation in the democratic process.
- Councils which held mayoral referendums in 2001 were Berwick-upon Tweed, Cheltenham, Gloucester, Watford, Doncaster, Kirklees, Sunderland, Brighton & Hove, Hartlepool, Lewisham, Middlesbrough, North Tyneside, Sedgefield, Redditch, Durham and Harrow
- The question electors were asked was 'Are you in favour of the proposal for (name of city or borough) to be run in a new way, which includes a mayor, who will be elected by the voters of that (borough, city, county or district), to be in charge of the council's services and to lead (name of local authority) and the community it serves.'