National Records of Scotland

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Decrease in Scottish Electorate

Decrease in Scottish Electorate

Wednesday, 24 Feb 2016
Demography News Release Image

The number of people registered to vote in elections in Scotland has dropped, according to figures published today by National Records of Scotland.

The registered electorates for local councils, the Scottish Parliament, the UK Parliament and the European Parliament have all seen reductions.

This is the first year since 2009 that Scottish electorates haven fallen.

On 1 December 2015:

  • 4.03 million people were registered to vote in the local government and Scottish Parliament elections – a decrease of around 100,000 (2.5 per cent) compared to 2 March 2015.
  • 3.90 million people were registered to vote in UK Parliament elections – a decrease of around 139,000 (3.4 per cent).
  • The number of European Union (EU) citizens registered to vote in local government and Scottish Parliament elections increased by around 7,000, to nearly 96,000 (8.2 per cent). This is likely to underestimate the total number of EU citizens resident in Scotland, since some may not register to vote.  

Additional background information

It is likely that the move to Individual Electoral Registration (IER) is the main cause for the drop in the number of electors seen in Scotland. Scotland completed the move to IER slightly later than other parts of the UK, to allow for the smooth running of the Scottish Independence Referendum. As such the drop seen in the December 2015 data for Scotland is therefore comparable to the fall seen in the March 2015 data for England and Wales (2.0 per cent and 3.1 per cent falls respectively).

The deadline for registration to vote in the next Scottish Parliamentary Election is 18 April 2016.

The full publication Electoral Statistics – Scotland 1st December 2015 is available on this website.