Local Government Election 2022 - Frequently Asked Questions
A range of important questions and answers relating to the forthcoming local elections
The Local Government Elections in Scotland (elections to West Lothian Council) are scheduled to take place on Thursday 5 May 2022.
Elections are taking place on the same day for all councillors in all councils in Scotland. West Lothian has 33 councillors. They are divided amongst 9 parts of the district, called "wards" There are three or four councillors elected per ward. The successful councillors will be in office for five years.
Councillors are elected through a form of proportional representation. The results are not decided by "first past the post". The Electoral Commission and the Scottish Government have produced a Factsheet to explain the voting and counting system.
Because the voting system is different the way the ballot paper is marked is different too. Instead of one cross in one box voters should use a sequence of numbers, starting with 1, to put the candidates in their preferred order. There is no limit on the number of preferences - voters can choose to mark a preference for just one candidate, or all the candidates, or any number in between.
All arrangements will be kept under review to ensure each venue meets strict health and safety standards for those who wish to vote in person.
Risk assessments will be completed in the run up to the poll date to determine what measures need to be in place at polling stations. Any measures in place will be in accordance with the most up to date public health guidance and in keeping with any national or local Covid-19 restrictions that are in force on the day of the election. Voters are likely to be advised to please wear a face covering when moving around inside polling stations while being distance aware around others when possible.
Pencils will be provided for voters at polling stations. Voters can bring their own pens or pencils if they want.
Anyone who is registered and qualified to vote in UK/Scottish elections is able to cast their vote in the Local Government Elections. That includes young people aged 16 and over and some prisoners.
- You can vote via a postal vote
- You can vote in person
- You can have someone vote for you (by proxy)
The main voter registration deadline has now passed. For further information on voter registration details for postal and proxy votes, please see further down this FAQ.
Yes. You can submit a postal vote or a proxy vote where someone else votes in person on your behalf. You can also arrange for someone to cast your vote for you by post (postal proxy vote).
The registration deadlines for applications for new postal votes (including postal proxy votes) and for changes to existing postal or proxy votes was on by 5pm on Tuesday 19 April 2022.
Applications for new proxy votes (except for emergencies) must be made by 5pm on Tuesday 26 April. After that, applications for emergency proxies can be made online, and that will allow anyone following coronavirus regulations or guidance the chance to vote.
All these applications must be made to the Electoral Registration Officer at Lothian Valuation Joint Board or by sending complete applications to 17A South Gyle Crescent, Edinburgh EH12 9FL or calling 0131 344 2500.
Further information on registering to vote can be read here: Registering to vote
The application deadline for postal voting registration has now passed.
A proxy vote allows a nominated person to cast your vote on your behalf either in person or by post.
The deadline to update your details for a proxy vote has now passed.
Applications for new proxy votes (except for emergencies) must also be made by 5pm on Tuesday 26 April 2022.
Applications for emergency proxy votes can be made between 19 April and 5pm on polling day (5 May 2022). The process has been made easier to allow anyone complying with coronavirus regulations or guidance to be able to vote. Applications must be made to the Electoral Registration Officer at Lothian Valuation Joint Board or by sending complete applications to 17A South Gyle Crescent, Edinburgh EH12 9FL or calling 0131 344 2500.
By law, it is not currently possible to hold elections by postal vote only. Current regulations allow people to leave home to vote however casting your vote by post is encouraged where possible.
Postal voters are encouraged to return their completed vote as soon as possible ahead of poll date.
A full list of polling stations has been published on the West Lothian Council website ahead of the Local Government Elections - Where you can vote.
Polling stations meet required standards to let disabled voters access them. Arrangements are also in place, and staff are trained, to enable disabled voters mark their ballot papers.
The poll will be open from 7am and will close at 10pm. You will not be turned away at 10pm if you are already in a queue to vote.
Voters do not need any form of identification for these elections. Photo ID is coming in the next few years for elections to the UK Parliament but not for this election. Voters will get a poll card in the post to tell them where to vote. They can bring that when they go to vote but it is not essential.
The votes will be counted on Friday 6 May and the result will be declared as soon as the count is completed. Ballot papers are scanned and are counted electronically. The Electoral Commission and the Scottish Government have produced a Factsheet about the e-counting system.
The count hardware is not connected to the internet and cannot be hacked.
A full list of candidates is published on the West Lothian Council website
Candidates must be least 18 years old when nominated. They must be a British citizen, an Irish Citizen, an eligible Commonwealth citizen, or a qualifying foreign national. They must have at least one out of four local connections to West Lothian. The Electoral Commission has produced Guidance for candidates and agents on standing for election.
Candidates can represent a political party or they can stand as independent candidates. There are forms to be filled in and delivered to the Returning Officer. Those forms and some guidance on how to complete them are on Local Government Election 2022 . No money has to be paid over to be able to stand in these elections.
COSLA and the Scottish Government have produced information about what councillors do.
Inclusion Scotland run an Access to Elected Office Fund that provides financial assistance to disabled candidates standing for election to help with the extra costs they may incur as a result of their disability. For more information about applying for a grant from the Access to Elected Office Fund Scotland, see Inclusion Scotland.
Candidates and political parties decide for themselves if and how they will campaign, taking coronavirus regulations and guidance into account. The Returning Officer cannot control campaigning that takes place in the run-up to polling day.