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What you need to know about the General Election in Scotland

We are sharing everything we know so far about the election; from how to find out who your candidates are,, to explaining the boundary changes in Glasgow, and instructions on how to vote.

Polling Station

This year’s general election will take place this summer – despite most of us being under the impression an election would be called sometime in the Autumn. It has now been confirmed that polling stations will be open from 7am until 10pm on the 4 July

The election date isn’t the only thing that has changed for voters this election year. Boundary changes to our electoral map means our constituencies have been redrawn and, following changes recently implemented by the governing Conservative Party, voters now must bring proof of their identity to the polling stations – making it objectively more difficult for people to cast their vote this time round.

So, we’ve put together a list of everything you’ll need to know ahead of this year’s election to keep you informed and make sure everyone gets the chance to have their say.

Why the electoral map is changing?

Regular reviews of constituency boundaries occur to track population changes and ensure fair representation. MPs aim to have roughly the same number of voters in their areas, balancing representation across the country. Some existing constituencies are too large or too small, making adjustments necessary.

The electoral map evolves over time so that growing cities gain more representation as their populations increase. But boundary changes can obviously be contentious, especially if they affect historic communities or cross established boundaries.

To make the process as fair as possible, independent commissions in each UK region propose specific boundary adjustments. They consider things like geography, local ties, and council boundaries. These changes generally aim for balanced representation while respecting historical and geographical factors. But the changes are bound to have some political impact too.

How do I register to vote?

The deadline to register to vote in the 2024 general election in Scotland is 18 June. Here’s how you can register:

  1. Online Registration:
    • Visit the Scottish Government website and follow the instructions to register online.
    • You’ll need your National Insurance number or passport (for British citizens living abroad).
  2. Register by Post:
    • You can also register by post and get the necessary forms from the same Scottish Government website.
    • If you have a National Insurance number or a passport (for British citizens living abroad), you can use them during the registration process.
  3. Eligibility:To register, you must be:
    • Aged 16 or older for UK Parliament elections.
    • A British citizen living in Scotland.
    • An Irish citizen living in Scotland.
    • A foreign national living in Scotland with leave to enter or stay in the UK, or who does not need leave.

Remember, you only need to register once, not for every election. However, if you change your name, address, or nationality, you’ll need to update your registration.

What do I need with me to vote?

In Scotland, you MUST bring a valid ID with an up-to-date picture of you to the polling stations in order to prove your identity. his will apply to UK parliamentary elections, including general elections and by-elections. If you do not bring a valid photographic ID, you will NOT be allowed to cast your vote.

The IDs listed below will be accepted:

  • A valid passport
  • Driving license
  • Bus pass: an older persons’ or disabled persons’ pass
  • Young Scot card

If you don’t have an acceptable form of ID, you can also apply for a Voter Authority Certificate to vote in the general election this July. The deadline to apply for a Voter Authority Certificate is 5pm on Wednesday 26 June.

You need to register to vote before applying for a Voter Authority Certificate. If you are already registered but have no valid form of ID, you can apply for your Voter Authority Certificate here.

Who are the candidates in my area

All general election candidates must be declared by the 7 June on the Electoral Commission website. To keep track of who has been declared already, we recommend checking out Who Can I Vote For.

What powers fall to the UK Government and what are devolved?

The following table is taken from the Delivering for Scotland website.

Devolved matters: Scottish GovernmentReserved matters: UK Government
Agriculture, forestry and fisheriesBroadcasting
Education and trainingConstitution
EnvironmentDefence and national security
Health, care and social servicesImmigration
Housing and land use planningEnergy
Law and orderEmployment
Local governmentEqual opportunities
Sport, arts and tourismForeign affairs and international relations
Parts of social securityMacroeconomic and fiscal policy
Some forms of taxationPensions, and parts of social security
Many aspects of transportTrade, including international trade

How can I have my say?

The Scottish Beacon is taking a different approach to this year’s election coverage. Rather than allowing the politicians and party machines to determine the agenda, we want to hear from you.

Tell us what you want the candidates to be talking about as they compete for votes by filling in this very short form.

Our participating publishers will then be putting these questions to the candidates and holding them to account on the issue that really matter.