Record number of voters

Record number of voters to get ready to have their say at Scottish Parliament election With the final total of voters registered for the Scottish Parliament election confirmed at 4,280,785

Record number of voters to get ready to have their say at Scottish Parliament election

With the final total of voters registered for the Scottish Parliament election confirmed at 4,280,785 – the highest electorate ever for a Scottish Parliament election – those planning to vote in person at a polling place are being encouraged to make sure they’re ready to vote on Thursday 6 May.  Figures are available for download here.

Polling stations will be open from 7am to 10pm. While voting should only take a few minutes, there will be arrangements in place to maintain physical distancing at the polling place and staff will be managing the number of people allowed inside at any one time. This might mean that voters will be asked to queue to enter their polling station. Anyone in the queue at their polling station at 10pm will be able to vote.

Malcolm Burr, Convener of the Electoral Management Board for Scotland, said:

“This year voting in person will look a little different to previous elections. You can help keep yourself and others safe by following the safety measures that will be in place at the polling place. This includes bringing a face covering, unless you are exempt, and sanitising your hands on entering and leaving the polling place. If you are asked to queue, this will be so that you and others can follow the physical distancing measures in place so please be patient while you wait for your turn.

“It has always been the case that voters can bring their own pens or pencils to cast their vote, and this year it is encouraged to minimise contact between voters.”

If people are unsure of what to do at the polling place, or need any help, staff will be happy to assist.

There are also measures in place to ensure that anyone who is required to self-isolate for Covid reasons ahead of polling day is still able to have their say in the election.

Andy O’Neill, Head of the Electoral Commission in Scotland, said:

“If you become unwell or have to self-isolate as a result of Covid-19 shortly before polling day, or on the day itself, you don’t need to miss out on your vote. You can apply for an emergency proxy up until 5pm on polling day, so someone you trust can vote on your behalf. You can do this by contacting your local electoral registration office.” 

Further information for voters is available on the Electoral Commission’s website at

For more information contact the Electoral Commission press office on 0131 225 0211, out of office hours 07789 920 414 or


Notes to editors

  1. The Electoral Commission is the independent body which oversees elections and regulates political finance in the UK. We work to promote public confidence in the democratic process and ensure its integrity by:
    • enabling the delivery of free and fair elections and referendums, focusing on the needs of electors and addressing the changing environment to ensure every vote remains secure and accessible
    • regulating political finance – taking proactive steps to increase transparency, ensure compliance and pursue breaches
    • using our expertise to make and advocate for changes to our democracy, aiming to improve fairness, transparency and efficiency

The Commission was set up in 2000 and reports to the UK, Scottish and Welsh parliaments.

  1. The Electoral Management Board for Scotland has a key role in delivering electoral events in Scotland. Returning Officers and Deputes, and Electoral Registration Officers drawn from across the country lead and support their colleagues to coordinate elections and referendums to give results in which the voter can have full confidence.
  2. Electorate figures have been compiled by Scotland’s 15 Electoral Registration Officers
  3. At the last Scottish Parliament election in 2016 there were 4,098,462 registered voters
  4. The highest electorate figure in Scotland was for the 2014 independence referendum at 4,283,938


Published: 3rd May 2021