Scottish elections 2021: More than quarter of Edinburgh electorate opts for postal vote

More than a quarter of the electorate in Edinburgh has registered for a postal vote in May's Holyrood elections.

Wednesday, 14th April 2021, 7:00 am

A total of 102,138 people - 2.1 per cent of all voters - are due to receive their ballot papers in the mail in the next few days.

That's up from just over 70,000 at the last Scottish Parliament elections in 2016.

There had been forecasts that Covid could see up to 40 per cent of voters choosing the postal option rather than turning up at polling stations in person.

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Postal votes are sorted at Meadowbank in the 2017 general election.

But administrators believe the fall in case numbers and the easing of restrictions has made people more relaxed and ready to go out to vote.

Across Scotland, 1,010,638 voters are now registered to vote by post 23.8 per cent of the electorate and the highest number ever registered for a postal vote in Scotland.

Postal voting packs will begin to be issued today and must be returned by 10pm on polling day, Thursday May 6, for the votes to count.

As well as marking their ballot papers, postal voters must also complete and return a statement with their date of birth and signature. These are checked against the ones they provided when they first applied for the postal vote and is an important measure to keep their vote safe.

Andy O’Neill, head of the Electoral Commission in Scotland, 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, so extra care needs to be taken when filling in these parts of the postal voting statement.”

While the postal vote deadline has now passed, 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 5pm on Tuesday April 27. More information is available at www.electoralcommission.org.uk/voter.

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