A SCOTTISH Parliament committee has voiced support for reforms in a new election bill that would extend parliamentary and council terms to five years.

The Scottish Elections (Reform) Bill, currently at stage one in Holyrood, would, if passed, make Scottish Parliament and local authority elections in Scotland every five years instead of four.

The bill also proposes increased flexibility in council constituencies to allow for wards to be represented by two or five councillors in addition to three and four-member wards.

A report by the Standards, Procedures and Public Appointments Committee, “broadly welcomed” the bill but convener Bill Kidd warned flexibility in council wards should not affect representation of voters.

He said: “How our elections are run in Scotland has a direct impact on engagement and participation. Everybody should feel they are represented and can have a say in how local and national policies are running.”

The bill also proposes simplifying the process of allowing people who are too young to vote to register early. Currently, young people who are 14 years old before December 1 of that year can register to vote, something the Scottish Government says is “unnecessarily complicated”, according to the report.

If passed, the new legislation would allow any 14-year-old to register early for Scottish Parliament and local council polls.

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The voting age for Scottish Parliament and council elections is 16 but 18 in Westminster elections.

Committee deputy convener Mark Ruskell said that would signal the Scottish Parliament’s intent to listen to the views of young people. said: “Young people have to be at the heart of our democracy. These changes send a clear signal that we want the voices of young people across Scotland to be heard and for them to play their part in Scottish democratic life. But it is crucial that everybody is informed how the electoral process works and what this means for them. We would urge the Scottish Government to make sure this type of information is made available to young people.”

The legislation also addresses the possibility of electronic voting, which the committee said should be treated with caution. Voting twice in the same council election would be come an offence in the same way as for Scottish and UK parliament elections and the presiding officer would be able to postpone a vote in extreme circumstances.