These videos were produced for the 2016 Scottish Parliament election. Please see below for up-to-date information on who can vote. 

When was the last Scottish Parliament election?

The most recent Scottish Parliament election was held on Thursday 5 May 2016. You can find the election results by region and constituency on the 2016 election results webpage.

When are the next Scottish Parliament elections?

Under the Scottish Parliament Elections (Dates) Act 2016, the next Scottish Parliament elections are scheduled to take place on 6 May 2021.

Who can vote in Scottish Parliament elections?

The Scottish Elections (Franchise and Representation) Act 2020 has expanded the categories of those who are eligible to vote. 

To vote in a Scottish Parliament election, you must be:

aged 16 or over on the day of the election

- a UK, qualifying Commonwealth or European Union citizen

- a qualifying foreign citizen, who has permission to enter or stay in the UK, or who does not need such permission

- resident at an address in Scotland and

- on the electoral register

You must also not be legally excluded from voting.

Further information is available from the Electoral Commission.

How do I register to vote in Scottish Parliament elections?

You can register to vote:

  • online at gov.uk/register-to-vote, or
  • by contacting the Electoral Registration Officer (ERO) for your local area. You can find the ERO contact details using the postcode search on the gov.uk website

Who and what am I voting for in Scottish Parliament elections?

The Scottish Parliament passes laws on devolved matters in Scotland. You are voting for the Members of the Scottish Parliament, or MSPs, who represent you and make decisions on devolved matters in Scotland. 

You have two votes: 

  • 1 vote for a constituency MSP
  • 1 vote to elect regional MSPs

You can find out how MSPs are elected in the fact sheet on the Scottish Parliament electoral system

A total of 129 MSPs were elected to the Scottish Parliament on 5 May 2016.

Other organisations

The Scottish Parliament is not responsible for organising or administering parliamentary elections.


Find out more

See our Election FAQs for more information.

Voting and the Scottish Parliament  

Keep up to date

Yes please!

I would like to sign up to the Scottish Parliament's weekly newsletter.


This website is using cookies.
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we’ll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies on this website.