Advice issued on voting safely at the Scottish Parliament election in Highland and Islands

While the Scottish Parliament election is not until May, planning is already underway to help people stay safe while casting their vote.  

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Residents in the Highlands and the Western Isles will go to the polls on Thursday May 6 to have their say on who represents them in the Scottish Parliament.

While the election is not until May, planning is already under way to help people stay safe while casting their vote.

There are a number of ways to have your say in the election in May – you can vote in a polling station, by post or by appointing someone you trust to vote on your behalf, known as a proxy vote.

Bill Gillies, Electoral Registration Officer for Highland and Western Isles, explained: ‘The Scottish Parliament makes decisions that affect every aspect of our daily lives so it is important to make your voice heard in this election and have a say on who represents you.

‘We’re thinking about these elections now so that, however you choose to cast your vote in May, you can do so safely. Arrangements are being put in place by the Returning Officer to help you stay safe at the polling station. You can expect many of the measures you’ve become used to in shops and banks over recent months, such as hand sanitiser, floor markings and face masks. But you also have the option to apply to vote by post or by proxy.’

Andy O’Neill, Head of Electoral Commission, Scotland, added: ‘The choice on how to vote at next May’s elections is yours. You can have your say in person, by post or by proxy.

‘If you’re thinking about voting by post, you can apply now. This will ensure your application is processed early and your postal vote can be sent to you more quickly. It’s easy to apply and you can find out how by visiting the Electoral Commission website.

‘You need to be registered to vote to have a say at the election. The easiest way is online at And remember, it doesn’t matter where you were born, if you are aged 16 and over and are resident in Scotland you are eligible to register and vote in Scottish Parliament elections.’

Residents can visit the frequently asked questions page on the website at to find out more about the elections. The page will be updated with new information as it becomes available. Any residents who have questions can also contact the electoral registration team on 0800 393 783 or by email on