Scottish Parliamentary Elections

Information for Voters

To vote in this election, eligible residents must be registered to vote by midnight on Monday 19 April 2021.

Who can vote in the Scottish Parliamentary Election?

  • 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 not require such leave

This is the first national election in Scotland that all foreign nationals can register to vote in.

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 all Public Health Scotland, Scottish Government, the Electoral Commission and the Electoral Management Board.

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.

Applications must reach the Electoral Registration Officer at Moray House, 16-18 Bank Street, Inverness, IV1 1QY.

To ensure you don't miss out on your preferred way of making your vote count, please check out the list of deadlines below.

  • Monday 19 April 2021 (midnight) - Deadline for receiving applications for registration.
  • Tuesday 6 April 2021 (5pm) - Deadline for receiving new postal vote and postal proxy applications, and for changes to existing postal or proxy votes.
  • Tuesday 27 April 2021 (5pm) - Deadline for receiving new applications to vote by proxy (not postal proxy or emergency proxies).
  • Thursday 6 May 2021 (7am to 10pm) - Polling day
  • Thursday 6 May 2021 (5pm) - Deadline for emergency proxy applications
  • Thursday 6 May 2021 (10pm) - Last time for re-issue of lost and spoilt postal votes

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

How to mark your vote on the ballot papers?

For this election voters have two votes in these elections and will be provided with two ballot papers.

  1. The first vote which is on a lilac ballot paper is to elect a person to be their Constituency Member. The person who wins the most votes using the FPP voting system becomes the Constituency Member.
  2. The second vote which is on a peach ballot paper is to elect Regional representatives. Voters can select a political party or an individual candidate (if there are any standing) for a seat in for Highlands and Islands Region.

Voters use one cross (X) to mark their ballot paper(s).

The Electoral Commission have produced an election guide that will be sent to every household in Scotland to explain to voters what they need to know ahead of the election. This guide has been produced in a range of accessible formats

Scottish Parliament election voting guide May 2021

Audio - Scottish Parliament election voting guide May 2021

Easy read - Scottish Parliament election voting guide May 2021

Large print - Scottish Parliament election voting guide May 2021

Translations - Scottish Parliament election voting guide May 2021

British sign Language video translations are available on the Electoral Commission UK YouTube playlist.

Information about Postal Voting

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

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

Information videos:

How to complete your Postal Vote

"What happens to my postal vote after I send it?"