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Q&A UK Parliamentary by-election

Airdrie and Shotts constituency - Thursday 13 May 2021

Residents in Airdrie and surrounding areas have received polling cards for two elections in May. To help with any confusion, please find some information and a Q&A below.

A by-election has been called in the Airdrie and Shotts constituency of the UK Parliament, following the resignation of Neil Gray MP.

The by-election will take place on Thursday 13 May and voting takes place from 7.00am to 10.00pm.

If you are eligible to vote in this by-election you will receive a polling card which tells you which polling place you should visit to vote.

The by-election is for the UK (Westminster) Parliament and is separate to the Scottish (Holyrood) elections taking place on Thursday 6 May. The two elections could not be held on the same day because of concerns about keeping people safe in the pandemic and because they are two distinct voting systems which could result in confusion among voters.

You should already have received your polling card for the Scottish Parliament election, which also includes the Airdrie and Shotts constituency.

I live in Airdrie and Shotts. If I can vote in the Scottish Parliament election, can I also vote in the UK Parliamentary by-election?

  • Most people who are eligible to vote will be able to vote in both elections.
  • If you are eligible, you will receive a polling card.
  • However, there are some people who will not. Young people aged 16 and 17 are only entitled to vote in the Scottish Parliament election; and there is slight difference in the boundary for the two constituencies so some households can vote in one election but not the other.

Will I vote in the same polling place for both elections?

  • Some polling places will be different in both elections, so please check your polling cards carefully to see where you should vote.
  • The date of the Scottish Parliament election, 6 May, is an in-service day for all schools so we can use them for polling places.
  • However, on the day of the UK by-election, 13 May, schools will be open so we have tried to avoid using schools as polling places, although unfortunately we have had to use a small number of schools as polling places. So please check your polling card carefully for details on where you can place your vote.

Is the voting system the same for the UK and Scottish elections?

  • No. The UK elections are first past the post (where the person with the most votes wins) and you mark your selection with a simple ‘X’
  • The Scottish election operates The Additional Member System. Under this system you get two votes: one for your local constituency (Airdrie and Shotts) MSP and one for an MSP to represent the wider Central Region (sometimes known as Regional List MSPs).
  • You should mark an X on the constituency ballot paper for the individual candidate you want to represent you. And on the regional ballot paper, mark an X at the party or independent candidate you wish to represent your area.

Take a look at this video for more information about voting in the Scottish Parliamentary elections.

There’s also a handy video that explains the measures that are in place for both elections.

Page last updated:
15 Feb 2022

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