5 Reasons to vote in the Scottish Parliament Elections
1. Vote to be represented
Each person in Scotland is represented by eight MSPs; one constituency MSP & seven MSPs representing their electoral region. They discharge several functions and represent their constituents in both the Scottish Parliament and the local area.
You hold the power to elect your MSPs. Who do you want working on your behalf? Who do you trust to represent you and your area? The quality and outlook of those elected MSPs all depends on the votes. You can choose a candidate that best represents you and your point of view.
Remember: as an eligible voter, you not only express your own views but help to shape the voice of Scotland as a country. The direction that the Scottish Parliament takes is determined by the MSPs you and others elect to it.
Furthermore, those representatives are held accountable through your vote; it’s your vote that either puts them in parliament or kicks them out.
If you don’t like the options available to you, consider spoiling your ballot to actively demonstrate your dissatisfaction.
2. Vote to have control
The Scottish Parliament makes laws on devolved matters including include agriculture, education & training, environment, health & social, laws & order and many aspects of transport. The MSPs that you elect will be the ones making those decisions that affect you and your community.
Politics is involved in every area of life, nationally and locally. Even if you don’t consider yourself to be a politically interested person, these decisions will ultimately impact the way you and other constituents operate.
Remember that MSPs are also the people you can contact for advice or to discuss an issue with; you are voting for representatives that aid you in both Scottish Parliament and at a local level.
It’s your life, so exert your control over it through your vote.
3. Vote because you can
Citizens haven’t always had the privilege to vote in the Scottish Parliament Elections; the opportunity to elect a Scottish Parliament only came about in 1999. It took referendums, campaigning and a constitutional convention to make an elected Scottish Parliament a possibility.
4. Vote because yours counts
Each vote is equal and carries the same amount of weight, so why would you think your vote doesn’t count? Every vote matters.
Determining the result of the Scottish Parliament Elections takes a team effort, with your vote and every other one contributing to the final decision.
Marginal constituencies demonstrate how even just a few votes could make a difference.
- Dunbarton (109 majority)
- Edinburgh Central (610 majority)
- Ayr (750 majority)
- Aberdeenshire West (900 majority)
Source: House of Commons Library.
Even ‘safe’ seats can be switched if enough people actively engage. Learn more about why voting in a safe seat is so important.
A low turnout means a less representative Scottish Parliament, it can also bring the legitimacy of the Parliament into question.
Citizens who choose not to vote arguably weaken democracy and the Scottish Parliament’s ability to truly represent. Choosing to abstain is to remain silent and ignored (consider spoiling your ballot instead if you feel so strongly!).
Ultimately, it is the votes that determine the result of the Scottish Parliament elections, not the absence of them. By voting you are an active and engaged participant who hasn’t given up their voice. If you abstain you are effectively handing over your power and allowing others to make the decisions that affect you.
No matter who you vote for, it’s important that you exercise your opinion through that vote.
5. Vote for change
Exercising your power to vote and participating in the political process is what strengthens democracy. Voting is one of the strongest forms of active citizenship and is one of the most simple and effective ways to achieve change.
Change doesn’t happen single-handedly or overnight, it’s a collective effort that requires as much support and engagement as possible! The power to change lies within your vote.
Stand up for change by voting for the candidates that would make the decisions you want to see.