The Scottish Voting System

For elections to the Scottish Parliament, Scotland is divided into 8 Regions. Each Region can contain 8 to 10 Constituencies. So everyone in Scotland gets 2 votes. A Constituency Vote and a Regional Vote. Normally people vote in both, but sometimes they only vote in one. Only voting in one does not spoil your other vote.

The basic premise exists that if a Party does well with Constituency Seats, the Scottish Voting System (D’Hondt) makes it very difficult for them to do well with Regional Seats.

In order to test this premise let’s consider the SNP Results over 5 Scottish Parliamentary Elections since Devolution in 1999.

SNP Results over 5 Scottish Parliamentary Elections Since Devolution in 1999

(Con – Constituency Seats / Reg – Regional Seats)

Regions199920032007201120162021 (Projections)
ConRegConRegConRegConRegConRegConReg
Central Scotland050325639090
Glasgow040214529090
Highlands and Islands222242636161
Lothian030223806090
Mid Scotland and Fife233251818090
North East Scotland24416210190100
South Scotland130305444380
West Scotland0403146280100
Total72891821265316594701
Total Seats352747696371

As Independence became more of a reality with the Scottish public, the SNP as the main Independence party became more popular. That popularity was rewarded with an increase in votes in both Scottish Constituencies and Regions.

However, it seems fairly conclusive that SNP gains in constituencies came at the expense of losses in the regions. This is a simple reality of the Scottish Voting System and demonstrates a popular party’s Regional Votes are wasted, even if they have success on the Constituency Vote.

To see how this may affect individual regions based on previous results and current polling please click on the following links.