Running electoral registration - Scotland

The qualifications for acting as a proxy

Any person who is, or will be, registered and are entitled to vote in the type of poll they are appointed for can be appointed as a proxy.1  

Where the proxy is resident in your local authority area, you will be able to check your own register. However, where the proxy is registered in another local authority area you should confirm these details with the ERO for that area.

You can require another ERO to provide information as soon as reasonably practicable2 and should let the ERO know if you require an urgent response due to an imminent poll. You should draw their attention to the urgency of any required response, for example, by using a clear subject heading in your email, such as ERO registration status check for proxy application. You need to have in place a mechanism for monitoring and following up on any non-responses. Equally, you should ensure you provide this information as quickly as possible to any other ERO.

If the nominated person is not and will not be registered, you should contact the applicant to explain the qualification criteria. You should ask them to nominate someone else who is or will be registered as their proxy, or suggest they ask their proxy to register (and explain how to do so) then notify you if the registration application is successful. If the proxy application is made close to a registration deadline you should attempt to contact the applicant quickly, such as by phone or email if you have their contact details.

Proxies must be 18 or over to vote on behalf of an elector in respect of UK Parliamentary elections. 16 and 17 year olds can only act as a proxy in respect of Scottish Parliamentary and local government elections.3  

Proxy limits at Scottish Parliament elections and local council elections 

It is not an offence to be appointed as proxy by more than two people, but it is an offence to vote for more than two people who are not close relatives.

Proxy limits at UK Parliamentary elections 

It is an offence:4  

  • for a person to knowingly appoint a proxy who is already acting as a proxy for two or more domestic electors. 
  • for a person who is registered as an overseas elector or a service voter to knowingly appoint a proxy who is already acting as a proxy for four or more electors (of which no more than two electors can be domestic electors)

Domestic electors are those electors who are neither service voters nor overseas electors. 

Last updated: 12 December 2023