The polls have already opened on the most important vote impacting on Scotland’s independence since the 2014 referendum. That makes today’s general election one of the most important ever held.
If it returns a majority of independence-supporting MSPs Nicola Sturgeon will push forward to hold a second referendum at some point in the parliamentary term.
She hopes to do so in the early stages of that term but has stressed that the Covid pandemic must be beaten first.
Even if the SNP falls slightly short of a majority, polls suggest a good showing for the other pro-indy parties which would secure a Yes majority.
The SNP could win a parliamentary majority itself but recent polls suggest that majority is on a knife edge. Even if the party falls slightly short, polls suggest a good showing for the other pro-indy parties which would secure a Yes majority.
Poll results suggest the Scottish Greens will significantly increase their representation via the its list candidates but are divided on whether Alex Salmon’s new Alba Party, which is standing in the regional list, will win seats or not.
The campaign for votes ends today and as Scotland takes the big decision we’ve compiled a list of election facts and figures.
1: There is a total of 129 MSPs in the Scottish parliament: 73 who represent constituencies and 56 on the regional list vote.
2: Constituency MSPs are elected through a first past the post system. Regional ‘list’ MSPs are elected through a proportional representation system known as the D’Hondt system. Eight additional member regions each returns seven MSPs.
3: At the polling station you will receive two ballot papers. The lilac ballot paper lists the name of all the candidates standing in your constituency in alphabetical order. You simply vote for the candidate you support. The peach ballot paper is for the list or regional vote. It lists all the parties standing in the regional seat and you vote for the party you prefer.
4: Polling stations opened at 7am this morning and close at 10pm.
5: Turn out at the last Scottish general election in 2016 was 55.8% for the constituency vote and 55.9% for the list voting.
6: The five main parties fighting for votes are the SNP, the Conservative Party, the Labour Party, the LibDems and the Scottish Greens.
You will have to wear a face covering at the polling station unless you're exempt. You will have to use hand sanitiser and stick to social distancing guidelines
7: There are also 20 smaller parties taking part. They include the pro-independence Alba Party (32 candidates), All for Unity, founded by George Galloway (56 candidates), Scottish Family Party (42 candidates) Ukip, Freedom Alliance (36 candidates), Reform UK (formerly the Brexit Party, 36 candidates), the Scottish Libertarian Party, Abolish the Scottish Parliament Party, Trade Union and Socialist Coalition (13), Scottish Renew (8), Social Democratic Party (7), Women’s Equality Party (7), Independent Green Voice (5), Restore Scotland (4), Communist Party of Britain (3), Scotia Future (2), Animal Welfare Party (2), Liberal Party (1), Reclaim Party (1), Vanguard (1).
8: You will have to wear a face covering at the polling station unless you're exempt. You will have to use hand sanitiser and stick to social distancing guidelines. It's also been recommended that you bring your own pen or pencil, although clean pencils will be available at polling stations if you forget.
9: Today’s Scottish election takes place alongside UK local elections, the London Assemble election and the Welsh Senedd election.
10: Almost a quarter of the electorate in Scotland asked to vote by post in this election. That represents more than one million people. Postal voting has already taken place.