Scottish Election 2021: Record number apply for postal votes

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Postal voting packs are being issued for the Scottish Parliament election after a record number of applications.

Provisional figures from Scotland's electoral registration officers show 1,010,638 people are now registered to vote by post on 6 May.

It accounts for nearly one quarter of the electorate (23.8%) and is the highest number ever registered for a postal vote in Scotland.

Postal ballots must be received by 22:00 on polling day.

At the last Holyrood election in 2016 there were 726,555 registered postal voters, amounting to 17.7% of the electorate.

The head of the Electoral Commission in Scotland, Andy O'Neill, said: "With many people voting by post for the first time this May, it's really important that they follow the instructions in their postal ballot pack to make sure their vote can count.

"Half of all postal votes rejected at the last UK general election were because the signature or date of birth did not match their application.

"Extra care needs to be taken when filling in these parts of the postal voting statement."

How does postal voting work?

  • When applying for a postal ballot, voters must provide a signature and date of birth.
  • Postal ballot packs will contain a postal voting statement, which require voters to again provide their signature and date of birth.
  • Returned postal vote packs will be opened and the signatures and dates of birth on the postal voting statement are checked by returning officers and their teams before polling day.
  • Postal vote ballots are kept safe and are never counted before the close of poll on election day.

The deadline to apply for a postal vote was 6 April.

It is still possible to apply for a proxy vote where a voter can appoint someone they trust to cast their vote. The deadline to apply for a proxy vote is 27 April.