Local Government by-elections

Information for Voters

Who can vote in By-elections?

  • British and Commonwealth citizens
  • Citizens of the Republic of Ireland
  • Citizens of the European Union
  • Other foreign nationals who have leave to enter and remain in the UK or do no require such leave

How to vote - Methods of voting

In Person

If you are registered to vote you will automatically vote in person at the polling place on the day of the election unless you have applied to vote by post or proxy.

Polling Stations will be operating with appropriate hygiene and physical distancing measures in place.  We are following all guidelines as set out by Public Health Scotland, Scottish Government, the Electoral Commission and the Electoral Management Board.

Information will be made availalbe here shortly on what voters need to know prior to Polling Day.

Postal or proxy vote

Anyone who is registered to vote can also arrange to have a Postal or Proxy Vote.  For more information about how to register and the different ways of voting in the election, please go to our How to Vote page.

For more advice on postal or proxy voting please email ero@highland.gov.uk or call 0800 393 783.


How to complete your Ballot Paper

The by-election is conducted under the Single Transferable Vote (STV) electoral system.  This means you should rank the candidates in order of your preference on the ballot paper.

Electors are advised to vote using numbers as follows:

Number the candidates in the order of your choice. 

  • Put the number 1 in the box next to the name of the candidate who is your first choice;
  • 2 in the box next to your second choice;
  • 3 in the box next to your third choice; and so on

You can make as many choices as you wish.


How does a candidate get elected?

Under the STV voting system a candidate requires a certain minimum number of votes to be elected.  This minimum number is called the quota.  The first step is to count the number of valid votes and then calculate the quota required by a candidate to be elected

The formula for the quota is:

(Valid votes cast) divided by (seats to be filled +1) + 1 vote

In this example there is ONE SEAT to fill, so the quota will be:

(Valid votes cast) divided by (1+1) + 1 vote

This means that the winning candidate therefore needs to receive 50% plus 1 of the total valid votes cast.

Although the count will be conducted electronically the process is the same:

  • The first preferences, the 1s marked on each ballot paper, are counted
  • If a candidate gets enough 1s to reach or exceed the quota they are elected
  • If a candidate is elected at the first stage that candidate's votes are then transferred at a reduced value (the surplus divided by the total votes received)
  • If no-one reaches or exceeds the quota the candidate with the least number of votes is excluded from the contest and their votes transferred
  • These vote are transferred to the other candidates based on the next available preference marked on the ballot paper.  When using votes from a candidate who has been eliminated, these votes carry their full value of 1
  • If no--one reaches or exceeds the quota the count continues by eliminating the next candidate who has the least number of votes
  • The count progresses through as many stages as required until a candidate reaches or exceeds the quota
  • If only two candidates are remaining then the candidate having the most votes at that stage will be declared to be elected (even though they may not have reached the quota)

Information about Postal Voting

To assist you with the completion of your postal vote please see our FAQs and our informative video below on how to fill out your postal vote.

Frequently asked questions to assist you with the completion of your postal vote

Information video

How to complete your Postal Vote