Right to vote

In February 2020, the Scottish Parliament passed a new law which extends the right to vote in Scottish elections to people who are over 16 and live in Scotland. This includes everyone with leave to remain, including people with refugee status.

What now?   

IMPORTANT: To vote, register now at You must register by 11:59pm on 19 April.

Ahead of the Scottish Parliament elections on Thursday 6 May 2021, we have been working with the Electoral Commission to produce resources that will support New Scots to vote for the first time. Resources include a guide created to support people who work with New Scots, as well as information in different languages for individuals.

Download the resources below to carry out your own public awareness activity. Please share them widely.
Use #NewScotsVote and #WelcomeToYourVote to join the conversation on social media.

Welcome to your vote - Facebook and Instagram graphics

Welcome to your vote - Insta Stories

Welcome to your vote - Twitter graphics

Welcome to your vote - Twitter header

Welcome to your vote - A5 posters 

Welcome to your vote - A4 posters 

Welcome to your vote - A3 posters  

Here are some resources to support professionals working with refugee communities in Scotland.
These resources cover how to register to vote, as well as participate in the upcoming Scottish Parliament election.

Facilitator guide for professionals working with New Scots

Political literacy activities - PowerPoint slides

FAQ for New Scots - English

FAQ for New Scots - Arabic

FAQ for New Scots - Farsi

FAQ for New Scots - French

FAQ for New Scots - Kurdish

Video: Registering to vote (English, Arabic subtitles)

Video: Scottish parliament explained (English, Arabic subtitles)


IMPORTANT: To vote, register now at You must register by 11:59pm on 19 April.

What next for the campaign? 

By granting voting rights to all those who are lawfully resident in Scotland, and extending candidacy rights to those with indefinite leave to remain, the Scottish Parliament has sent a clear message that Scotland is a welcoming, inclusive country, where everyone should be treated equally not matter where they are from.

But the journey to a fully inclusive franchise does not end here.

Scottish Refugee Council firmly believe that everyone who makes Scotland their home should have a say in how the country is run. Therefore, people seeking asylum should have the same voting rights as other residents in Scotland. People seeking asylum come to Scotland for safety, to rebuild their lives and find peace for themselves and their children. They are our neighbours, our friends, activists, fellow campaigners and party members. Their lives are shaped by policies set in Holyrood and local government; they should have a say on how that happens, like everyone else.

We also encourage the Scottish Government to consider proposals to allow people with limited leave to remain the right to stand in Scottish Elections. By only granting candidacy rights to those with indefinite leave to remain, the Bill creates an uneven pattern of candidacy rights that is not based on an individual’s relationship to a community, but rather subject to somewhat arbitrary structures imposed by an immigration system.

To discuss our work on voting rights, please contact our Policy Officer Hannah Pearson.