VOTERS in Scotland will go to the polls next month to cast their vote in the Holyrood elections.

THe latest figures from the Electoral Management Board show as of the end of March around 23% of eligible voters in Scotland had registered for a postal vote – adding up to nearly 963,000 people.

Today is the last day to register to vote.

THE vote takes place on Thursday May 6.

People aged 16 and over on the day of the election get two votes – one for an MSP, the other for a party.

YOU can register to vote in the election either online or by post. You must be 16 to vote, but you can register from the age of 14.

You must also be one of the following:

  • A British citizen living in Scotland
  • An Irish citizen living in Scotland
  • A foreign national of another country living in Scotland who has leave to enter or stay in the UK, or who does not need leave

You only need to register once – not for every election. But you do need to register again if you change your name, address or nationality.

To register to vote online, head to the Scottish Government website.

You can access paper forms to register here.

The deadline for postal votes has now passed, so you must vote in person, at your local polling station.

You can also nominate someone to vote for you by proxy, which you can do until 27 April, by clicking here.

THERE are 129 seats up for grabs – 73 constituency MSPs and 56 regional MSPs.

In Scotland's electoral system each person is represented by a constituency MSP, elected by the first past the post system. Like seats at Westminster, this means the person with the most votes wins, even if they are not supported by a majority of constituents.

The second half of the system aims to rectify this by balancing each constituency MSP with seven regional MSPs. In practice, this means parties which fail to get a constituency seat can still be elected via the list system.

This is decided by a quick calculation known as the d’Hondt method, which divides the number of regional votes for a party by the number of seats already won in that region, plus one.

COUNTING will begin on May 7 and results should be announced the weekend of May 8-9 – although it is not known exactly what time they will emerge.

Last month it was reported it could be several days before the outcome of polling on Thursday May 6 is known, with counting of ballots not getting underway until the following day due to restrictions around Covid.

In another change from the usual proceedings, returning officers will tweet out results as soon as they are declared using a dedicated hashtag, to take into account only limited numbers of people – including the media – being allowed to attend count venues.

READ MORE: May’s Scottish Parliament elections results expected days after polls close

Chris Highcock, of the Electoral Management Board for Scotland, said: “No count will start before 9am on Friday morning.

“Across the 32 councils there are councils proceeding across both Friday and Saturday. Most of them are aiming to get things done within the Friday.

“Those that have got multiple constituencies often have got plans to complete on Saturday.

“In Edinburgh for example we have got six constituencies – three will be done on the Friday and three will be done on the Saturday.

“It is similar in other places – North Lanarkshire are doing the same, Glasgow are doing the same, Fife are doing the same.”

THE SNPGreens and Alba could achieve 78 pro-independence seats, according to the latest Panelbase poll.

The survey, commissioned by Believe in Scotland, projected that the SNP will win 63 seats, the Greens will win 10 and Alba will win five. That would mean a pro-independence majority of 27 seats.

According to the poll the Tories would remain in second place with 26 seats, Labour would have 20 MSPs and the LibDems would maintain their five representatives.

The seat prediction was calculated by polling expert John Curtice using the data collected by the firm.

He said on those figures the SNP would take three constituency seats from Labour – Dumbarton, East Lothian and Edinburgh Southern.

But with support for the party on the list down to 36%, it is likely that they will miss out on a majority. 

Meanwhile the prediction showed Alba could take list seats in Glasgow, the West, Highlands and Islands, the North East and Lothian. The Greens would take list seats in every part of Scotland, including two in both Lothian and Glasgow. 

READ MORE: SNP, Greens and Alba to form pro-independence majority, poll predicts

Panelbase recorded little change across the Unionist parties. In the constituency the Tories are on 23%, up one point, and on 22% on the list, also up one point.

The pollsters recorded no change for Labour, at 20% on the constituency and 17% on the list vote. There was no change for the LibDems on the constituency vote, but they were up one single point on the regional vote. The Greens were at 4% in the constituency voting intention section, and 9% on the list, up two points and one point respectively.

Support for Alba was recorded at 6%, which marks no change from the last Panelbase poll, and All for Unity was at 2%, down two points.

NICOLA Sturgeon has said that a majority of pro-independence MSPs returned at next month’s election would be enough to allow the people of Scotland to vote on its future.

She told ITV News: “If there is a majority of people in the Scottish Parliament who want an independence referendum and have been democratically elected there, then yes there is a mandate for a second independence referendum."

Asked if she would work with support from Alex Salmond’s Alba Party, she said: “I’m campaigning for the SNP and that is my prospectus over the campaign.”

Sturgeon added: “I’m not planning to work with Alba, I don’t think they are helping the independence cause right now, I think they could hinder it if we give any sense that people are trying to game the system that can backfire.

“It’s not for me to say what MSPs from other parties vote for in a Scottish Parliament, but I am campaigning to get an SNP government re-elected, to have myself re-elected as First Minister, hopefully – although I take nothing for granted given the PR [proportional representation] system we are in – with an SNP majority.”