EDINBURGH, Scotland, July 28 (UPI) -- Voters in Scotland will participate in an independence referendum in September, and some expatriates are angered they are ineligible to vote.
The Sept. 18 referendum will decide if Scotland will split from England or maintain their sometimes-rocky relationship as defined by the Act of Union of 1707. The 733,000 Scots living south of the border, in England and Wales, are not eligible to cast a ballot.
The Scottish government determined the referendum would be operated in the manner of a local election. Only current residents of Scotland can vote, including the 500,000 born in England, Wales or Northern Ireland who reside in Scotland. The law also allows European Union nationals, living in Scotland, to vote.
"It is a source of great regret that so many expatriate Scots are disenfranchised in this referendum," said Ian Lang, a former British Cabinet secretary in charge of Scottish affairs, in a recent Parliament speech.
In this manner, a Polish or Greek citizen living in Scotland can vote, but Ian Cowe, 82, cannot. Cowe was born in Edinburgh, the Scottish capital, lived most of his life in Scotland and currently resides in Berwick-upon-Tweed, an English town near the border with Scotland.
"I wish that Berwick could vote. A lot of people, you could say, were stranded outside of Scotland," Cowe said, adding he would vote to keep the union intact. "I don't like to see countries breaking up. I worked in Yugoslavia, and that all fell to bits."
Adherents of keeping Britain together have maintained a slim majority in polls. J.K. Rowling, the Scottish author of the Harry Potter series of novels, pledged $1.7 million to the pro-union campaign.