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.

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Polling stations for council elections that took place on Thursday 4 May are now closed.


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Cover of Scottish Council elections Your Voting Guide

Scottish Council elections – your voting guide

Our guide to the council elections across Scotland on Thursday 4 May tells you everything you need to know in order to vote.

It is being delivered to every household across Scotland.

Read our Scottish council elections voting guide (PDF)

Alternative languages and formats

Our guide is available in a number of different languages. It is also available in Easy read, large print, audio and British Sign Language. You can also request a Braille version.

Find out what alternative languages and formats are available


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

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.

How to fill out your ballot paper

Find out more about single transferable vote

Find out more about how the single transferable vote system works


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