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Frequently Asked Questions - Electorate

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These Frequently Asked Questions provide information about us and our work. If you cannot find the answer you are looking for in the sections above, contact us using the details at the bottom left of each page.

Can you tell me the current number of electors in a constituency?
We do not publish current electorate figures for constituencies. These can be obtained from the relevant page of the National Records of Scotland (formerly the General Register Office for Scotland) website: http://www.gro-scotland.gov.uk/statistics/theme/electoral-stats/index.html.

What do you mean by electoral parity?
Electoral parity is the variation in the number of electors per councillor within a constituency.

Do numbers of people matter when you're recommending Scottish Parliament constituencies?
Yes. The law specifies that each constituency must have the same number of electors "as is practicable" while also taking account of the other rules for constituency design. Because of this, when we carry out a review, we look closely at the number of electors in each area.

Do numbers of people matter when you're recommending UK Parliament constituencies?
Yes. The law specifies that the electorate of each constituency, with a few specified exceptions, has to be within 5% of the United Kingdom electoral quota, which is the average electorate of mainland constituencies. The exceptions that can affect Scotland are that any constituency exceeding 12,000 square kilometres, and the constituencies covering Na h-Eileanan an Iar, Orkney Islands and Shetland Islands council areas, can have a smaller electorate.

Which people do you consider when you're looking at numbers?
The law requires us to use the number of people whose names appear on the electoral register. This definition includes those on the register who will become 18 while the register is in force - these people are known as attainers. Find out how to check whether you're registered to vote, and how to register to vote at the About My Vote website at http://www.aboutmyvote.co.uk/ .

What's the difference between local government electorate and parliamentary electorate?
United Kingdom citizens of voting age who are resident in the United Kingdom are entitled to register to vote in all elections. EU citizens who are resident in the United Kingdom can register as local government electors. Commonwealth and Irish Republic citizens who are resident in the United Kingdom, and United Kingdom citizens living abroad, can register as parliamentary electors. The law tells us to use local government electorate for our reviews of Scottish Parliament boundaries, and parliamentary electorate for our reviews of UK Parliament constituencies.

What about changes to the electorate in the future?
The law only tells us to use the electorate at the start of a review.

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91 Haymarket Terrace
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Phone: 0131 244 2001
bcs@scottishboundaries.gov.uk