Nicola Sturgeon hints at all-postal vote in next year's Holyrood elections

Edinburgh MSP Daniel Johnson urges early discussions

Friday, 24th April 2020, 12:30 pm
The 2021 Holyrood elections may be very different from usual
The 2021 Holyrood elections may be very different from usual

NICOLA Sturgeon has hinted next year's Scottish Parliament elections could be held with everyone voting by post.

Her comment came after Edinburgh Southern Labour MSP Daniel Johnson wrote to Holyrood's presiding officer urging that an all-postal election should be considered.

The elections are scheduled for May next year, but the Scottish Government has warned social distancing rules will have to be observed for a prolonged period and the First Minister was asked in a radio interview whether she could guarantee they would go ahead.

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She said: “I’m cautious about saying anything categorically but yes I want the Scottish elections to go ahead next year because I think part of trying to have some semblance of normality is allowing democracy to continue.

“We may have to do these things differently - this is not a decision because we haven’t got there yet, but maybe depending on where we are, greater than we have up until now, the use of postal voting may be something we have to think about.”

“My starting point is the elections should go ahead because we’re a democracy and we need to have elections. Whether these things will happen exactly the same as we’re used to them happening is a much more open question.”

In his letter to presiding officer Ken Macintosh, Mr Johnson said elections normally involved a lot of social contact - canvassing, street stalls, hustings and the poll itself.

“These are all part of the fabric of how we conduct elections and yet many if not all of these activities look problematic if not impossible in the context of social distancing.

“On the other hand, there are some aspects of our voting system that could be extended to provide for social distancing. Holding the ballot exclusively by post must surely be under consideration.

“Likewise, digital platforms are proving useful in day to day political life and could be extended for the purposes of hustings and other public meetings.”

And Mr Johnson told the News discussions about how to run the elections should begin sooner rather than later. “The longer we have to discuss these things the better the opportunity we have to get them right.”