Everything you need to know about the Scottish Parliament Elections as a student

With upcoming elections just around the corner, you probably a few questions about voting and how the pandemic has affected the elections. To save you some time, here is everything you need to know about the Scottish Parliament Election, including when, where and how to vote.

When is the election?

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On May 6th 2021, people can cast their votes for the new Scottish Parliament. Usually, Scottish elections are held every 4 years, but due to the pandemic the elections were moved from May 2020 to 2021.

Who can vote?

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Anyone who lives in Scotland and has registered to vote can vote in the elections, but they need to be aged at least 16 years on the day. People who have been legally excluded from voting, such as those serving a prison sentence for more than 12 months, cannot vote in the election.

How can I vote?

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There are three ways for someone to vote in the Scottish Parliament Elections, with the first being to vote in person at a polling station. These polling stations are set up all over the place, and can usually be found in community centres and schools. You can vote in a polling station from 7am to 10pm on the day.

However, if you apply in time you can also register for a postal vote, which is great for people who would be on holiday or otherwise occupied on the day of voting.

The third way to vote is by proxy, which is where you nominate someone to cast your vote for you. You may do this if you are too ill to vote in person, if you are having to self-isolate, or are unable to vote in person but have left it too late to vote by post.

How do the Scottish Parliament Elections work?

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Each person has two votes, with one being for a Constituency MSP and the other for the regional ballot. There are 73 Constituency MSP’s who are all elected through the first past the post system.

With the regional ballot, people will need to vote for a political party, and then depending on how many votes that party receives will dictate how many MSP’s they can allocate. Unlike the rest of the UK, people in Scotland are represented by eight MSP’s, as they will have seven MSP’s representing the region and one representing their constituency.

Who can I vote for?

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To find out who you can vote for in the elections you can enter your postcode on the BBC’s ‘Who can I vote for in my area’ section. You will then be shown all the candidates in your area and which political parties they belong too.

What about Covid?

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The current Coronavirus pandemic means that some changes have been put in place to keep voters safe. Whilst you are voting, you are expecting to follow social distancing rules and wear a face-covering unless you are exempt. It may also be a good idea to take your own pen with you.

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