UK Parliamentary Elections
As at December 2022 there were 4,012,700 registered voters in Scotland, down 0.4% on the previous year, for UK Parliamentary elections.
To be eligible to vote in UK Parliament elections you must be :
- be 18 or over on the day of the election (‘polling day’)
- be a British, Irish or qualifying Commonwealth citizen
- be resident at an address in the UK (or a British citizen living abroad who has been registered to vote in the UK in the last 15 years)
- not be legally excluded from voting
You can register to vote at 16 for UK Parliament elections
Scottish Parliamentary and Local Government Elections
Scottish Parliament and local government elections have a much wider franchise – 4,243,800 were registered to vote by December 2022. This figure also fell slightly by 0.03%.
To vote in Scottish Parliamentary elections you must:
- be 16 or over on the day of the election (‘polling day’)
- not be legally excluded from voting
You must also be one of the following:
- British citizen
- an Irish citizen
- a foreign national of another country living in Scotland who has permission to enter or stay in the UK, or who does not need permission
You can register to vote at 14 for Scottish Parliament and local government elections.
Orkney has the smallest number of registered voters for local government and Scottish Parliament elections at 17,700. This is in comparison with Linlithgow which has the largest register of voters for a Scottish Parliamentary Constituency at 76,300.
There were 181,500 foreign nationals registered to vote in Scottish Parliamentary and local government elections. This is up 5.5% on the previous year, and is the highest number ever recorded. This group represents 4.3% of the total electorate.
There were 76,600 registered voters aged 16 or 17. This was a decrease of 1,000 (1.3%) compared with December 2021. They accounted for 1.8% of the total electorate.
There are times when people are more keen to register to vote than others. The Scottish Independence Referendum in 2014 saw a surge in people wishing to vote.
Ways of Voting
There are different ways you can vote: in person, by a proxy, or by postal voting.
Nearly a million people, or 23.1% of the electorate, are registered for postal voting in UK Parliamentary elections in Scotland. This is a slight decrease of 0.2% on the previous year. 22.5% of the total electorate have opted to vote by post in Scottish Parliamentary and local government elections, an increase of 0.1%.
Postal voting is becoming more and more popular as people are finding it convenient. Some places, for instance smaller islands have gone over completely to postal voting.
Registering to vote is really simple. You can register to vote:
The elections are also different.
UK Parliament Elections are ‘First Past The Post’ – you mark on the ballot the candidate of your choice with an X. Both Scottish Parliamentary and local government elections use types of Proportional Representation.
From 4 May 2023, voters in Scotland will need to show photo ID to vote at polling places in some elections. This will apply to:
- UK parliamentary by-elections
- Recall petitions
From October 2023 it will also apply to UK General elections.
Voters in Scotland will not need to show photo ID at Scottish Parliament elections or at council elections.
You’ll need one of the following types of photo ID to vote:
- a UK or Northern Ireland photocard driving licence (full or provisional)
- a driving licence issued by the EU, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein, the Isle of Man or any of the Channel Islands
- a UK passport
- a passport issued by the EU, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein or a Commonwealth country
- a PASS card (National Proof of Age Standards Scheme)
- a Blue Badge
- a biometric residence permit (BRP)
- a Defence Identity Card (MOD form 90)
- a national identity card issued by the EU, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein
- a Northern Ireland Electoral Identity Card
- a Voter Authority Certificate
- an Anonymous Elector’s Document
You can also use one of the following travel passes as photo ID when you vote:
- an older person’s bus pass
- a disabled person’s bus pass
- an Oyster 60+ card
- a Freedom Pass
- a Scottish National Entitlement Card (NEC)
- a 60 and Over Welsh Concessionary Travel Card
- a Disabled Person’s Welsh Concessionary Travel Card
- a Northern Ireland concessionary travel pass
The photo on your ID must look like you. You can still use your ID even if it has expired.
If you do not have a type of photo ID that allows you to vote, you can apply for a Voter Authority Certificate.
Click on this link for the full report, People registered to vote