More people may be considering voting by post for the Scottish Parliament elections on 6 May 2021 because of Covid-19.

You can apply to vote by post as a one-off for a single election or for a longer period – but you must make sure you are both registered to vote and have successfully applied for a postal vote.

Last year the Scottish Parliament passed a new law to extend the right to vote to all people who are over 16 living in Scotland, including migrants with leave to remain, settled status or refugee status. Find out more from the Scottish Refugee Council.

What are the deadlines for applying?

The deadline for REGISTERING TO VOTE in the upcoming elections on 6 May is midnight on 19 APRIL.

In SCOTLAND your APPLICATION TO VOTE BY POST must arrive at your local office by 5pm on 20 APRIL. (Please note, there is a different deadline for people living in England and Wales).

Register to Vote

If you are not sure if you are registered to vote, or if you recently have changed your name, address, or nationality you need to up-date your voting registration. You can register or up-date online at with your National Insurance number.

Alternatively, contact your local office local Electoral Registration Office. You can find  contact details for your local office by searching with your postcode on the Electoral Commission webpage  under “where to send your form”. Alternatively ask your local council.

Apply for a Postal Vote

To apply for a postal vote, you need to download, print off,  fill in, and sign a form which can be found on the Electoral Commission website here: Post it to your local office, or you may be able to scan it and email it. If you have changed address since you last applied for a postal vote, you will need to apply again.  If you require the form in an accessible format or can’t print it off, contact your local office.

When will the postal voting pack arrive?

A postal voting pack and postal ballot card will be sent out from the middle of April. If the postal ballot gets lost or spoilt, you can apply for a replacement in person at your local office up till 5pm on polling day.

How to return the postal vote

To return the postal vote, post it in good time to reach your local office by 6 May. Or you can take it in person, or ask someone you trust to take it, to the polling station on polling day.

Completed postal votes must be returned by 10pm on polling day, 6 May 2021.