Scottish Local Government Elections and Voting




In advance of the Scottish local government elections in 2017, the Local Government and Communities Committee held a roundtable session on how voter turnout can be increased and the lessons learned from the Scottish local government elections in 2012.

The Committee heard from academics, organisations encouraging participatory democracy, organisations representing sections of society less likely to vote and organisations who would take a role in encouraging young people to vote.

Written Submissions Received 

Watch the round table discussion from the meeting on 2 November 2016 (starting at 49.52 in the video below).

Watch the Convener of the committee, Bob Doris MSP, discussing the session on 2 November 2016.


Following the roundtable session on 2 November 2016, the Committee wrote to the Scottish Government to seek a response to the main issues raised by witnesses at the session:

The Minister for Parliamentary Business replied to the Convener's letter on 19 December 2016:

At its meeting on 21 June 2017, the Committee considered its work programme and agreed to write to the Electoral Commission seeking information on the results of the local government election held on 4 May 2017.

The Electoral Commission replied to the Convener's letter on 11 September 2017:

Electoral Commission Report on the 2017 Scottish Local Government Elections

The Electoral Commission's report was published on 11 September 2017 at the following link:

The Committee also requested detailed ward level electoral data and public opinion data and this data can be found at the following links:

Scottish Government Consultation on Electoral Reform in Scotland

The Minister for Parliamentary Business wrote to the Committee on 19 December 2017 with details of the Scottish Government's consultation on electoral reform in Scotland:


The Committee's roundtable session took place on Wednesday 2 November and the Committee heard from the following:

  • Dr Lynn Bennie, University of Aberdeen; Willie Sullivan, Electoral Reform Society Scotland; Victoria Hannigan, Modern Studies Association; Dave Watson, UNISON Scotland; Debbie King, Shelter Scotland; Kayleigh Thorpe, ENABLE Scotland.

The papers for the meeting can be found at:

The Official Report (substantially verbatim transcript) of the meeting can be found at:

Following the response received from the Minister for Parliamentary Business, the Committee heard from 2 panels at its meeting on 17 January 2017:

  • Panel 1: Andy O'Neill, Head, Electoral Commission, Scotland; Alan Armstrong, Strategic Director, Education Scotland; Mary Pitcaithly, Convener, and Chris Highcock, Secretary, Electoral Management Board for Scotland; Ian Milton, Grampian Electoral Registration Officer and Chair, Electoral Registration Committee, Scottish Assessors Association.
  • Panel 2: Joe FitzPatrick, Minister for Parliamentary Business, and Roddy Angus, Elections Policy Adviser, Scottish Government.

The papers for the meeting on 18 January 2017 can be found at:

The Official Report (substantially verbatim transcript of the meeting can be found at:

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