Scottish Parliamentary Election





Who can vote in Scottish Parliament elections?

To vote in a Scottish Parliament election, you must be:

– aged 16 or over on the day of the election

– a UK, qualifying Commonwealth or European Union citizen

– a qualifying foreign citizen, who has permission to enter or stay in the UK, or who does not need such permission

– resident at an address in Scotland and

– on the electoral register

How do I register to vote in Scottish Parliament elections?

The Deadline to register to vote was Monday 19th April 2021

Postal Voting

The deadline for applying for a postal vote has now passed. You may still be able to apply to appoint a person to vote on your behalf (a proxy), further details are below.

Proxy Voting

If you aren’t able to cast your vote in person, you can ask someone you trust to cast your vote for you. This is called a proxy vote and the person casting your vote is often referred to as your proxy. Your proxy has to be registered to vote. Once your application has been accepted the person voting on your behalf can go to your polling station to cast your vote on 6th May.

The last date to apply for a new in person proxy vote is 5pm on Tuesday 27th April

To apply for a proxy vote, complete the form to vote by proxy, explaining why you can’t get to your polling station in person and return it to:-

For Argyll and Bute Council Area


Kilbrannan House,
Bolgam Street,
PA28 6JY

For East Dunbartonshire Council Area


235 Dumbarton Road,
G81 4XJ

For West Dunbartonshire Council Area


235 Dumbarton Road,
G81 4XJ

If downloading forms is not suitable you can ask for a paper form to be issued in the post by contacting the ERO at the above e-mail addresses or by calling:-

For Argyll and Bute Council Area – 01586 55 5300

For East and West Dunbartonshire Council Areas – 0141 562 1200

Frequently Asked Questions

When is the election? What elections are taking place?

On Thursday 6 May, residents in Scotland will be voting for members of the Scottish Parliament.

How can I vote at the May 2021 elections?

There are a number of ways to have your say in May – you can vote in a polling station, by post, or by appointing someone you trust to vote on your behalf, known as a proxy vote.

Is voting by post safe?

Yes, voting by post is safe and proven cases of electoral fraud are rare. When voting by post, you should mark your vote on the ballot paper in secret, and seal the envelope yourself.

You will also be asked to give your date of birth and signature when applying for a postal or proxy vote. This makes postal voting safe, because when you return your postal voting pack your signature and date of birth are checked against those you provided before to confirm your identity.

Your signature and date of birth are separated from your ballot paper before it is looked at or counted, so giving this information will not affect the secrecy of your vote.

Are polling stations safe?

Returning Officers are putting arrangements in place to help ensure polling stations are safe places to vote. It is possible that many of the measures you’ve become used to over recent months in shops and banks, such as hand sanitiser, floor markings and face coverings will be in operation.

Returning Officers will continue discussions with public health authorities as they prepare for the elections to make sure they are following the most up to date guidance.

Will I need to bring my own pen or pencil?

You are always welcome to use your own pen or pencil. Returning Officers are working with the Scottish Government, members of the electoral community and public health authorities to help ensure polling station are safe places to vote at the May 2021 elections.

Is it safer to vote by post, instead of going in person?

Returning Officers are working hard to ensure that polling stations will be safe places to vote in May, but you can choose to apply to vote by post or by proxy instead.

What should I do if I find out closer to the time that I need to self-isolate, or my area goes into a local lockdown?

We want to make sure that everyone who is entitled to vote is able to do so, regardless of the pandemic. We will be providing more information nearer the time on how you can vote if you need to self-isolate, or live in an area under local lockdown.

You can find more information on: