Running electoral registration - Scotland

Transitional arrangements

The commencement of The Representation of the People (Postal and Proxy Voting etc.) (Amendment) Regulations 2023 will take place from 31 October 2023 and will impact postal vote applications made for UK Parliamentary elections. 

New applications received on or after the 31 October 2023 commencement 

All postal and postal proxy vote applications for UK Parliamentary elections received on or after the 31 October 2023 commencement must satisfy the new requirements including information for the verification of personal identifiers.1  

Where an application does not contain the required information, you should, where possible, make enquiries to obtain the missing information. If the missing information is not submitted, the application cannot be accepted. You should write to the elector, explain why the application has not been accepted and how to make a fresh application. 

New applications received before but not determined by the 31 October 2023 commencement 

Any postal or postal proxy applications for UK Parliamentary elections received but not determined by the 31 October 2023 can be accepted. However, if the application is made for an indefinite arrangement, you can only grant it for the maximum period. You should write to the elector to explain why the application has only been granted for the maximum period and not the indefinite period specified in the application. 

Notifying existing postal and postal proxy voters of the requirement to reapply

Existing long term domestic postal and postal proxy voters for UK Parliamentary elections will continue to be able to vote by post without reapplying until the 31 January 2026.

You will need to notify these voters of the need to re-apply before the expiry of their existing arrangement.

The notification must include the date on which their existing postal vote entitlement is to end and inform them about how to make a fresh application before that date if they want to continue to vote by post.2  

Transitional arrangements for overseas electors with postal votes

The postal vote arrangements of overseas electors that are in place at commencement of the new overseas electors’ provisions will expire at the same time as their existing overseas elector declaration, which will be within 12 months of commencement. You will need to contact the elector before their overseas elector declaration expires to advise them that they will need to reapply for their postal vote. This can be combined with any renewal request relating to the need to reapply to remain registered as an overseas elector.

Once the new overseas electors’ provisions come into force, the maximum period for a postal vote arrangement will be the period up until the end of the declaration renewal period. This will be calculated from the original date of the overseas elector’s addition to the register and will cease on the third 1 November calculated from the date of their addition to or renewal on the register.  

Our guidance on overseas electors is being updated to reflect changes as a result of the Elections Act 2022.  A link will be provided here once this guidance has been published.

Applications for a postal vote from attainers made and determined before commencement on 31 October 2023 

If an applicant who is registered as an attainer makes an application for a postal vote for UK Parliamentary elections and it is determined before 31 October 2023 the arrangement will come into effect once they turn 18.

Last updated: 12 December 2023