Scottish council elections

Council elections are taking place across Scotland on Thursday 4 May 2017. Find out everything you need to know to cast your vote.

The next Scottish council elections are on Thursday 4 May 2017.

Register to vote

If you want to have your say at the Scottish council elections, you must be registered to vote.

If you’re not already registered to vote, you need to register by midnight on Monday 17 April 2017.

You can register to vote online now at

Who can vote?

To vote at Scottish council elections you must be:

  • 16 years of age or over on polling day
  • a British citizen or Irish citizen, or
  • a citizen of another European country, or
  • a Commonwealth citizen who has leave to remain in the UK or who does not require leave to remain in the UK

Your local council

Each council in Scotland is divided into smaller areas called wards. Each ward has three or four councillors who are elected to represent the local community.

Councillors represent the views and opinions of the public, and are responsible for deciding how the council spends its money and provides local services.

These include:

  • education
  • social care
  • tackling poverty
  • promoting social inclusion
  • roads and public transport
  • the environment
  • economic development
  • housing
  • leisure and library services
  • cultural services
  • waste management

How do I vote?

Scottish council elections use the single transferable vote system. You vote using numbers.

Your ballot paper will list all the candidates standing to be councillors in your ward.

You will be asked to number the candidates in order of your choice – put number 1 in the voting box next to your first choice, number 2 in the voting box next to your second choice, number 3 in the voting box next to your third choice and so on.

Find out more about how the single transferable vote system works

Who is standing for election in my area?

The people you will be able to vote for – known as candidates – will not be announced until nearer the elections. This page will be updated with details of how to find out who the candidates are in your area once this information is available.

Local authorities publish names of candidates who are standing in an election around three weeks before polling day.