Renfrewshire Council

Voting info for young people

Voting and politics can sometimes feel confusing.

There can be a lot of unclear and old-fashioned words and explanations - and it's easy to feel a bit overwhelmed. 

This page aims to help you to feel more confident and knowledgeable about elections in Renfrewshire.

What age do you need to be to vote?

In Scotland if you are 16 or 17, you can vote in the Scottish Parliament election and your local council election. Once you hit 18, you can vote in all the others, such as the UK Government election.

You can register to vote from 14, but need to wait until you're 16 to cast your first vote.

Do you need to do anything to be able to vote?

Yes, you need to register if you've:

  • never voted before
  • just become old enough to register
  • moved house recently
  • changed your name for any reason

It takes five minutes max to do this here - Register to vote.

Once I'm registered, how do I actually vote?

On polling day, you can visit your nearest polling station to vote in-person

You'll get a polling card in the post once you're registered and it will tell you where to go. You don't need to bring this card with you, but it helps things go quicker when you arrive.

If you're busy on polling day or don't want to vote in-person, you can do it via a postal vote instead.

You need to register for this method in advance (for the Scottish Parliament election 2021, it's by 5pm on 6 April) and you send it away in the week or so before the election takes place.

Sign up for a postal vote here - Postal voting.

Finally, you can also vote by proxy.

This means allowing someone you trust to vote on your behalf i.e. your mum, dad, brother, etc.

Similar to a postal vote, you need to do this in advance and they then hand it in for you at the polling station.

If that sounds the best way for you, sign up for it here - Proxy vote.

I want to know more about the election I'm voting in and what it means

The people that run the election (the Electoral Commission) have a handy guide to what you're voting for at each election, be it Scottish Parliament or our council elections.

See what they've done here - Elections - what do they mean? or download this booklet - All you need to know about voting as a young person [6MB]

What if I need more info?

You can go to the Electoral Commission, our local election office RVJB, your teacher at school, your parents or our team at the council.

It's important that you find out why you're voting, what you're voting for, but above all, it's so important that you have your say by casting your vote.