If you wish to vote in any election, you must be on the electoral register.
To vote in the Scottish Parliamentary Election taking place on Thursday 6 May 2021, you must apply to register to vote before midnight on Monday 19 April 2021.
How to register
You can register to vote if:
- You are a citizen who has the right to remain resident in Scotland irrespective of nationality
- You are aged 14 years or over (you will not be eligible to vote until you are 18 in UK Parliamentary elections)
- You have no legal incapacity to vote
The voting age for Scottish elections has been lowered to 16. This means that if you’re 16 or older you will be able to vote in Scottish Parliamentary and local government elections.
Anyone who needs a paper copy should request a form as soon as possible by contacting
the Electoral Registration Officer (ERO)
If you have moved address or you are not sure if you are on the register, please
contact the ERO.
You can ask to see the electoral register for your street at your local library.
What happens after you've registered?
After your details are verified by the government digital service you will receive
a letter advising you when you will be added to the Register of Electors. Should
your details not be verified the ERO will contact you to supply further information.
If you are registered to vote, you will be sent a poll card shortly before an election.
This tells you where and when you can vote. If you have chosen to vote by post,
card will tell you the date you will receive your postal vote.
If you have any questions about registering to vote, you can also contact us at:
How do I vote?
Most people in the UK choose to cast their vote in person at a local polling station.
Voting at a polling station is very straightforward. There will always be a member
of staff available to help if you're not sure what to do.
If you are registered to vote, you will receive a poll card before the election
telling you where and when to vote. The poll card is for your information only –
you do not need to take it to the polling station in order to vote.
How voting in person works
On election day, go to your local polling station. Polling stations are open between
7am and 10pm. If you need assistance getting to the polling station, contact the
electoral registration office to find out if they can help. You can also ask to
have a companion with you when you vote, or staff in the polling station may be
able to help you.
Tell the staff inside the polling station your name and address so they can check
that you are on the electoral register. You can show them your poll card, but you
do not need it to vote.
The staff at the polling station will give you a ballot paper listing the parties
and candidates you can vote for. If you have a visual impairment, you can ask for
a special voting device that allows you to vote on your own in secret.
Take your ballot paper into a polling booth so that no one can see how you vote.
Read the ballot paper carefully, it will tell you how to cast your vote.
Do not write anything else on the paper or your vote may not be counted. If you have made a mistake on your ballot paper you can ask polling station staff for a replacement.
Finally, when you have marked your vote, fold the ballot paper in half and put it
in the ballot box. Do not let anyone see your vote.
If you are not clear on what to do, ask the staff at the polling station to
If you are unable to go the polling station, you can: