National Records of Scotland

Preserving the past, Recording the present, Informing the future

Number of registered voters stable

Number of registered voters stable

Thursday, 11 Apr 2024
demography news release image

The number of registered voters in Scotland for UK Parliamentary elections was stable in 2023, according to statistics published today by National Records of Scotland (NRS). 

There were 4,007,200 people registered to vote last December, down just 0.1% on the previous year. This report is the first to show breakdowns for the new UK Parliament constituency boundaries which came into force late last year. 

Eligibility is different for Scottish Parliamentary and local government elections and the number of electors is higher at 4,241,800. This figure also fell slightly by 0.05%.

There were nearly 189,500 foreign nationals registered to vote in Scottish Parliamentary and local government elections. This is up 4.4% on the previous year, and is the highest number ever recorded. This group represents 4.5% of the total electorate. 

Nearly a million people, or 22.2% of the electorate, are registered for postal voting in UK Parliamentary elections. This proportion was a little lower than the 23.1% recorded for the previous December.  Similarly, 21.7% of the total electorate are registered for a postal vote in Scottish Parliamentary and local government elections, which was slightly down on the 22.5% recorded for the previous year.

Sandy Taylor, Head of Electoral Statistics said:

“The number of people registered to vote in UK, Scottish Parliamentary and local elections has remained stable in the last year. 

“Almost a quarter of the electorate is currently registered to vote by post. Our analysis shows registering for postal voting was generally higher in more rural or remote constituencies.” 

The full report “People registered to vote” is available to read online on the NRS website


The corresponding electoral statistics for the whole of the UK is scheduled for publication by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) on 11 April 2024. That publication, which will include figures for Scotland supplied by NRS, will be available on the ONS website.

Resident EU and other foreign nationals (apart from citizens of the Republic of Ireland and qualifying Commonwealth citizens) do not have the right to vote in UK Parliamentary elections, but can vote in Scottish Parliamentary and Local Government Elections. The electoral franchise for these elections was extended, with effect from 1 April 2020,  from EU citizens to other qualifying foreign nationals resident in Scotland by the Scottish Elections (Franchise and Representation) Act 2020.

The data source used to produce electoral statistics holds limited information about voter age and no information about the sex of registered voters.

Media enquiries should be directed to:
Donna Green
NRS Communications
Email: [email protected]

Further information about the statistics is available from:
NRS Customer Services
Email: [email protected]