Scottish Parliament Political Parties Panel minutes: 19 May 2021

Who was at the meeting

Scott Martin, Scottish National Party (Chair)
Matt Edmonds, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party
Paul Moat, Scottish Liberal Democrats
Fiona O’Donnell, Scottish Labour Party

Isabel Drummond-Murray, Boundaries Scotland

Maria McCann, Scottish Government
Iain Hockenhull, Scottish Government

Malcolm Burr, Electoral Management Board for Scotland
Chris Highcock, Electoral Management Board for Scotland

Kate Crawford, Renfrewshire Valuation Joint Board

Hannah Standring, Office of the Secretary State for Scotland

Rachel Winham, Royal Mail

The Electoral Commission:

Dame Susan Bruce, Electoral Commissioner, Scotland
Alasdair Morgan, Electoral Commissioner
Andy O’Neill, Head of Electoral Commission, Scotland
Sarah Mackie, Manager, Electoral Commission, Scotland
Martin McKeown, Senior Adviser, Elections & Campaigners, Scotland
Catherine Heggie, Partnerships & Information Officer, Scotland
Lindsey Hamilton, Business Support Officer (Minutes)

Scottish Government, Scott Forsyth, Royal Mail, Pete Wildman, Scottish Assessors Association (Chair of Electoral Registration Committee)

Pre-poll and electoral registration

Kate Crawford (KC) said that the early scenario planning had proved to be very successful. Scottish Government funding and getting the Household Notification Letter (HNL) out in February had helped to move the spike for postal vote applications earlier, as did the TV ad which EROs ran across Scotland. Uptake from foreign nationals and prisoners had been good though still some confusion about eligibility.

Fiona O’Donnell (FOD) asked if the 6 April early cut-off date in Scotland had been needed. KC said it had made the process manageable and the number of applications received after the deadline had been at the lower end of what they expected. On the subject of accessibility, FOD asked if there was evidence it had been more effective than in previous elections. KC ran through the approach they had taken with those in care homes. FOD said one area in Glasgow had a disappointing level of postal votes. KC said most of the permanent postal vote applications had been fresh registrations.