Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson has stressed the upcoming council elections should be about local issues at the start of a "crucial week" for the campaign.
Voters are due to go to the polls to elect their local councillors next Thursday.
But with as many as 500,000 postal votes due to be delivered to homes across Scotland over the next few days, the Tory leader said some seats could be all but determined before polling day on May 3.
She also stressed that the elections were "about local issues" and warned against "any attempt by the SNP to hijack it as a vote for separation".
Ms Davidson spoke out as she joined Tory volunteers at a phone bank in Perth, with the leader amongst those calling voters in a bid to persuade them to back her party.
With postal votes going out over the next few days, the Conservative stressed this was a "crucial week for voters".
She said: "The result of the election could be largely determined by the hundreds of thousands of postal votes cast from around Scotland.
"It is no exaggeration to say that some candidates may receive enough postal ballots to be all but elected before a single polling booth is open or ballot cast in the traditional manner."
Ms Davidson went on: "With turnout predicted to be as low as 45%, up to a third of all votes are expected to be posted.
"Because of the multi-member voting system used in the council elections, candidates do not need to get a majority to be elected.
"It means that with candidates needing as little as 25% in some areas of the country to win a council seat, the results of many wards could be partially decided by the end of the week."
The Tories are contesting every mainland council ward in Scotland for the first time and Ms Davidson urged people to "use their postal votes to elect candidates who will fight for local issues on everything from education, potholes and anti-social behaviour, while also getting value for money for the taxpayer".
She said: "This is an election about local issues and any attempt by the SNP to hijack it as a vote for separation is nothing more than a cynical attempt to hoodwink the voters of Scotland."
A spokesman for the SNP hit back at the Conservatives and said: "The Tories just don't get it. These elections are about local jobs and services.
"Every SNP council and SNP councillor elected in May will work in partnership with the Scottish Government - that's the right approach and the way we can achieve most for local communities.
"Together, at national and local level, the SNP will be working hard to create jobs, protect family budgets and to make Scotland fairer and our communities safer.
"SNP councils, working with the Scottish Government, will continue to put jobs and families first.
"Unlike the Tory candidates, all SNP candidates are working hard to win the trust of the people and take their local areas forward."
More About Local elections 2012
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- SNP fury as Labour and Tories strike coalition deal to run Stirling Council
- Voters go to the polls a week late to elect final three councillors
- Councils in Lothians strike deals after days of negotiations
- Councils across Scotland starting to take shape after days of negotiations
- Negotiations across the Lothians in the wake of local government elections