Renfrewshire Council

2021 - Scottish Parliamentary election

The Scottish Parliamentary Election is due to take place on Thursday 6 May 2021, with Renfrewshire's count due to take place at Braehead Arena on Friday 7 and Saturday 8 May 2021.

There are 129 seats available in the Scottish Parliament, with 65 required for a majority, and elected MSPs serve a five-year term - which is next due to be from 2021 to 2026. 

Renfrewshire elects one MSP from each of its three constituencies: Paisley, Renfrewshire North and West and Renfrewshire South. 

The electorate at the last election for Paisley was 51,673 (57.3% turnout), Renfrewshire North and West was 50,555 (61.1%) and Renfrewshire South was 49,422 (60.3%). 

Renfrewshire is also in the West of Scotland electoral region and therefore voters cast their vote to elect list MSPs - of which there are 7 from this region.


Voting guides (inc. accessible options)

Want to find out more about the election?

The Electoral Commission have created a voting guide in a range of formats, including audio, easy-read, large-print and alternative languages, which you can access here - Scottish Parliament Election 2021 - Voting Guide.

If you would like this in Braille, call 0800 3 280 280.

To watch British Sign Language videos which explain the election process and how to take part, visit: Scottish Parliament Election - BSL videos.

Register to vote

If you've never voted before, moved house or changed your name recently, you need to register by 19 April 2021.

Do this here - Register to vote.

Postal voting

Given the current pandemic, you may prefer to vote by post - but please be assured that polling stations will be safe place to vote.  

If you don't want to vote in-person on 6 May, you need to register in advance for a postal or proxy vote.

The postal deadline is 5pm on 6 April and you can register here - Postal vote.

Completed applications should be sent to the Electoral Registration Office, The Robertson Centre, 16 Glasgow Rd, Paisley PA1 3QF.

You can use Royal Mail priority post boxes for returning your applications. Find your nearest here - Priority post boxes.

For any questions, you can call 0300 300 0150 or email Electoral Registration Officer.

Postal votes will start to issued from 14 April

Proxy voting

The proxy deadline (where someone votes on your behalf) is 5pm on 27 April 2021 and you can register here - Proxy vote.

Voting as a refugee or foreign citizen

Refugees and other foreign citizens living in Scotland who have leave to enter or remain in the UK, or do not need such permission, can now vote in Scottish Parliament and council elections.

Read these FAQs here in English, Arabic, Farsi or Kurdish, watch this video on Registering to vote (English with Arabic subtitles) or this video on voting in the upcoming election (English with Arabic subtitles).

What to expect if voting in-person at a polling station


What's the process for voting?

Polling stations

Our polling stations will be safe places for you to vote in-person on polling day.

Please vote at the polling station outlined on your poll card.

Some polling stations have changed either to ensure the appropriate health and safety measures can be put in place to support safe voting, there is currently work being undertaken in the previous location that would mean it is unavailable for use, or the polling station was changed following the review of polling places carried out in December 2019.

Thursday 6 May is an in-service day for our schools so pupils will not be affected by polling stations being stationed in a school.

What health and safety measures will be in place?

Voting support for those with a disability

For anyone with a disability who wants to vote in person at the polling station, there will be additional support available. This includes:

  • A tactile voting device. This is a template designed for people with sight loss, which is fixed onto the ballot paper so that you can mark it yourself. Polling station staff will read out the name of the candidates on the ballot paper for you
  • A large print sample version of the ballot paper. This is clearly displayed in the polling station and a copy will also be available for you to take into the polling booth to help you to mark your paper
  • You can ask the member of staff who is in charge of the polling station to help you mark your ballot paper; or bring someone with you who is over 18, and eligible to vote in that election, to help you cast your vote. Blind and partially sighted voters are also able to take their phones into the polling booth to help them to vote. For instance, to use magnifier or text-to-speech apps, or the phone torch to improve lighting
  • Each polling station will have a ramp or a separate entrance, so that everyone can access it. If you do experience any problems getting into your polling station, a member of staff can come to assist you and can bring your ballot paper to you so you can cast your vote, if helpful
  • A wheelchair accessible polling booth will be available in every polling station

If you have any concerns or questions, please don't hesitate to contact the Election Office - 0141 618 2300.

Information for candidates/electoral agents

Nominations for the upcoming Scottish Parliament Elections opened on Tuesday 16 March and must arrive no later than 4pm on Wednesday 31 March 2021.

Nomination papers must be delivered to the Constituency Returning Officer at the Election Office, Renfrewshire House, Cotton Street, Paisley, PA1 1TR between the hours of 9am and 4pm on any working day - but given the ongoing Covid restrictions, nominations can be submitted on an appointment basis only.

Please call the Election Office on 0141 618 2300 to arrange a suitable appointment.

We can informally check your nomination papers via email prior to submission.

When you attend for your appointment you are asked to wear a mask, unless you are exempt, and to use the sanitiser provided. Strict physical distancing will be observed and our meeting rooms will have screens in place. 

While your deposit can be paid in cash, it would be of assistance if payment was made by BACS transfer or by debit/credit card.




Notice of election published

15 March 

Publication of persons nominated, inc. notice of poll and situation of polling stations 

31 March (5pm) - if no objections 

Otherwise, 1 April (4pm) 

Deadline for new postal votes6 April (5pm)

Deadline for applications to register to vote 

19 April 

Deadline for changes to existing postal or proxy votes 

20 April (5pm) 

Deadline for new applications to vote by proxy (not postal or emergency) 

27 April  (5pm)

Polling day 

6 May (7am-10pm)

Deadline for emergency proxy applications 

6 May (5pm) 

Last time for re-issue of spoilt or lost postal votes

6 May (10pm) 

This election is subject to change until the notice of election has been published.