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by Jack Thomson
02 March 2021
Minister 'confident' Scottish Parliament election can go ahead in May

Graeme Dey (Scottish Parliament TV)

Minister 'confident' Scottish Parliament election can go ahead in May

The minister for parliamentary business is "confident" the Holyrood election can go ahead as planned on Thursday 6 May.

Graeme Dey told MSPs that "positive action" is being taken "to ensure the safe delivery of the election" in an update this afternoon.

He outlined a number of measures which are expected to be carried out to make polling places safe environments, including social distancing, the use of face masks, one way systems and enhanced cleaning arrangements.

Dey also confirmed no more than 800 voters will be allocated to a single polling stations and counts should happen during the daytime, adding it was "inevitable" that the result will take longer.

It is expected that most counting will occur over the Friday and Saturday, meaning the result may not be known for two days after the poll.

Dey said in the Scottish Parliament: "I appreciate that some have expressed genuine concern about the safe holding of the election.

"I do not wish to minimise or underestimate those concerns but I do want to provide reassurance that all views are being heard and positive action has been and continues to be taken to ensure the safe delivery of the election.

"It is as a result of the hard work of electoral professionals over the course of the winter that I am confident that the election can go ahead on 6 May."

While the Scottish General Election (Cornavirus) Act allows for postponement of the election if required, Dey said: "I'm pleased to say this does not seem necessary at present."

He added: "It is fundamental for a democracy to hold scheduled elections provided it is safe to do so. This parliament has sat for five years, a year longer than originally intended and many countries have already held elections successfully during the pandemic."

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