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24/02/16 09:30

Decrease In Scottish Electorate

Voter registrations in Scotland have 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 have fallen.

On 1st 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 March 2, 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 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.

Notes to editors

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 18th April 2016.

1. The statistical information is available online at:

or directly from:

2. Equivalent statistics for the whole of the UK were published today by the Office for National Statistics.

3. The electoral register is a list of all people who are registered to vote in elections and referendums. The creation and maintenance of the electoral register is the responsibility of local electoral registration offices. There are 15 such offices in Scotland and each maintains the electoral register for its own area. This is generally done by means of an annual canvass and a process of rolling registration. These statistics are derived using the data supplied by the 15 Electoral Registration Officers using the full register published on December 1, 2015.

4. These statistics are also used by government to inform electoral policy, in the work of the Boundary Commission for Scotland for constituency design, and by political parties and members of the UK and the Scottish Parliament, local government, academics and members of the public with an interest in the political process.

5. A progress report on the implementation of Individual electoral registration entitled “Analysis of the revised electoral registers in Scotland” was published by the Electoral Commission on 2nd April 2015: