Polling stations open for Scottish Parliament election

Registered voters can cast their ballots between 7am and 10pm on Thursday.

Polling stations have opened across Scotland as voters cast their ballots in the Holyrood election.

In-person voting takes place between 7am and 10pm, before the counting begins on Friday morning.

There will be no overnight drama this time to ensure Covid safety measures can be followed. A slow and steady approach means it’s likely to be Saturday afternoon or possibly Sunday before the final results are known.

As well as the five main parties – SNP, Scottish Conservatives, Scottish Labour, Scottish Greens and Scottish Liberal Democrats – a number of other contenders are vying for the 129 available seats in the parliament.

Voters will elect 73 constituency MSPs and another 56 through the regional list system.

More than 4.2m voters have registered to have their say – a record number for any Scottish election. Teenagers aged 16 and 17 are allowed to vote, unlike UK-wide ballots.

The Electoral Commission urged voters to be patient at polling stations, where face masks must be worn and arrangements are in place to ensure social distancing.

Staff will be managing the number of people allowed inside at any one time, meaning queues are likely. However, they stressed that anyone queuing at 10pm will be allowed to vote.

Malcolm Burr, convener of the Electoral Management Board for Scotland, said: “Voting in person will look a little different to previous elections.

“You can help keep yourself and others safe by following the safety measures that will be in place at the polling place.

“This includes bringing a face covering, unless you are exempt, and sanitising your hands on entering and leaving the polling place.

“If you are asked to queue, this will be so that you and others can follow the physical distancing measures in place so please be patient while you wait for your turn.”

Any voters suffering from Covid symptoms or self-isolating on Thursday can apply for an emergency proxy vote up until 5pm by contacting their local registration office.

How can I follow the results?


  • Live rolling coverage on the STV News website and social media throughout the counting.

STV and STV Player

  • Friday: 4-7pm
  • Saturday: 4.40-6.30pm
  • Sunday: 5.35-6.30pm
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