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Deadline to register to vote in Scottish Parliament elections sparks plea to Highland residents to make sure they don't miss out


By Philip Murray

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A ballot box.
A ballot box.

HIGHLANDERS are being urged not to miss out on their right to vote in the upcoming Scottish Parliament elections.

Voters will go to the polls on Thursday, May 6 to decide who will represent them as their MSPs.

But if you are not already registered to vote, then time is rapidly running out to do so.

In order to vote in the election, residents must be on the electoral register and the deadline to register is midnight on Monday, April 19.

And the Highland & Western Isles Electoral Registration Officer is now urging anyone who has not registered at their current address to make sure they are registered in time.

It takes just five minutes to apply online at www.gov.uk/register-to-vote.

The Scottish Parliament has powers to make laws for Scotland in a range of areas including health, education, housing, justice and the environment.

Bill Gillies, Electoral Registration Officer for Highland & Western Isles, said: "This is an opportunity to make your voice heard and have a say on who represents you on issues that directly affect your day-to-day. If you’re not registered by April 19, you won’t be able to vote.”

“If you were registered to vote in the last election and your details have not changed, you don’t need to take any action. If in doubt, you can contact us on 0800 393 783.”

Andy O’Neill, Head of the Electoral Commission in Scotland said: “You can’t have your say in these important elections unless you are registered to vote. It’s quick and easy – it takes just five minutes online at www.gov.uk/registertovote.”

“It doesn’t matter where you were born, if you are aged 16 or over and live in Scotland then you can now vote in the Scottish Parliament election. But only if you have registered to vote first.”

Voters have a range of options for casting their ballot – in person, by post or by appointing someone they trust to vote in their place, known as a proxy vote. For those who choose to vote in person, polling stations will be following all public health guidance on 6 May.

The deadline to apply for a postal vote is 5pm on April 6, and for a proxy vote the deadline is 5pm on April 27.

To vote in a Scottish Parliament election you must be registered to vote in Scotland and aged 16 years or over on the day of the poll. You must also be:

  • a British or Irish citizen, or
  • a Commonwealth citizen, who has leave to remain in the UK or who does not require leave to remain in the UK, or
  • a citizen of another European Union country, or
  • a qualifying foreign citizen, who has permission to enter or stay in the UK, or who does not need such permission. Full details on who can vote in elections in Scotland can be found here.

For information on how to register to vote, or how to apply to vote by post or by proxy, voters can visit www.electoralcommission.org.uk/voter. This page will continue to be updated ahead of the polls.

Related news: Nominations open for Scottish Parliament election hopefuls


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