Polling stations open across the north as Scotland prepares to choose its next government in an election billed as one of the most important since devolution
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Polls have finally opened for the 2021 Scottish Parliamentary elections with Ross-shire residents balloted for one of two possible constituencies.
Polling stations across the region are open from 7am to 10pm and with the county straddling two seats voters will be able to cast a ballot in one of two seats.
The Caithness, Sutherland and Ross seat extends from the far north to include Easter Ross and to the south shores of Lochcarron on the west.
South of that is Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch seat runs from Dingwall on the east coast to, as its name states, Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch as well as the Great Glen.
Voters will also be asked to cast a ballot for the Highlands and Islands list seats, which will see seven MSP represent the region as a whole.
A large number of people have already cast postal votes due to the ongoing restrictions but many still prefer to attend the polling stations which are open from 7am to 10pm.
To cast a ballot you must be registered to vote at an address in Scotland, aged 16 or over on the day of the election, a British or Irish citizen, or of a third country with permission to stay in the UK or one who does not need permission to stay.
Counting will only begin, due to Covid restrictions, on Friday morning at 9am with the constituency seats due to be announced later that day. The regional seats will only be confirmed on Saturday.
The Caithness, Sutherland and Ross candidates are:
- Harry Christian, Scottish Libertarian Party
- Marion Donaldson, Scottish Labour
- Struan Mackie, Scottish Conservative
- Tina McCaffery, Freedom Alliance-Integrity, Society, Economy
- Molly Nolan, Scottish Liberal Democrat
- Maree Todd, SNP
The Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch candidates are:
- John Erskine, Scottish Labour
- Kate Forbes, SNP
- Jamie Halcro Johnston, Scottish Conservative
- Denis Rixson, Scottish Liberal Democrat
Running for a seat representing the Highland and Islands region are two independent candidates and a total of 15 parties:
- Hazel Mansfield, Independent candidate
- Andy Wightman, Independent candidate
- Abolish the Scottish Parliament Party
- Alba Party
- All For Unity
- Freedom Alliance- Integrity, Society, Economy
- Reform UK
- Restore Scotland
- Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party
- Scottish Family Party
- Scottish Green Party
- Scottish Labour Party
- Scottish Liberal Democrats
- Scottish Libertarian Party
- Scottish National Party (SNP)
- Scottish Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition
- UK Independence Party (Ukip)