Running electoral registration - Scotland

Maintaining the register

Maintaining the register

The electoral register

As ERO you have a duty to maintain:

  • a register of parliamentary electors
  • a register of local government electors1   

These registers contain details of those who are registered to vote and must be combined as far as is practicable. Any reference to the register in our guidance should be taken as a reference to the combined registers unless otherwise stated.

The franchise for Scottish Parliamentary and local government elections includes 16 and 17 year olds. This means that the local government register will include 16 and 17 year olds as full electors. Additionally 14 and15 year olds are entitled to be included on the local government register as attainers.2  An attainer is someone who turns 16 by the end of the twelve months following the 1 December after the relevant date.
The combined register will need to make clear the date on which those who are under 18 years of age will become 18 years old in order to clearly show their eligibility to vote in different elections.

No information on those aged under 16 must be included on any version of the register published or otherwise made available, except in very limited circumstances. For further information, see our guidance on access and supply of the register.

The franchise for Scottish Parliamentary and local government elections has been extended to qualifying foreign nationals and also to prisoners convicted to a term of 12 months or less.3
The entry in the combined registers of any person who is registered only as a local government elector by virtue of being a qualifying foreign national or a prisoner must give an indication of that fact.

The edited register

You must also produce an edited (or open) version of the register.4  We use the term edited register, as this is the technical term used in the legislation. Open register is used to describe the edited register to members of the public to make it easier to understand the purpose of this register and how it is used. Where we mention the edited register in this context, we will refer to the edited register as the open register.

The edited register contains only the names and addresses of those on the full register who have not opted out of their details appearing on the edited register.

A person under 16 years old is automatically opted out of the edited register.

Absent voting records

In addition to maintaining the register, you have a duty to process absent vote applications, maintain the absent voting record and produce the lists of absent voters for an election.5  More information can be found in our guidance on absent voting.

Last updated: 27 October 2023