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Scottish Parliament Election - 6 May 2021

The Scottish Parliament Election was held on Thursday 6 May 2021.  This is the sixth election since the parliament was re-established in 1999.  The Scottish Parliament passes laws on devolved matters in Scotland.  This is to elect Members of the Scottish Parliament, or MSPs, who represent you and make decisions on devolved matters in Scotland.

There are 129 elected members of the Scottish Parliament (MSPs).  73 are Constituency members elected using the “first-past-the post” system.  The remaining 56 are Regional Members, who are elected using the Additional Member System.  Everyone in Scotland is represented by eight MSPs; one represents your Scottish Parliament Constituency (Orkney Islands) and the other seven all represent your region (Highlands and Islands).  Visit the Scottish Parliament Website to find out more.

There were two votes at this election and the first vote is to elect a person to be the Constituency MSP for Orkney Islands.  The second vote is used to elect the list members for the Region.  Orkney Islands is part of the Highlands and Islands Region and the Regional results from the Constituency will be transmitted to the Regional Returning Officer who will aggregate the results for the Highlands and Islands Region and allocate the seats accordingly.  John Mundell is the Constituency Returning Officer for Orkney Islands and Donna Manson is the Regional Returning Officer for the Highlands and Islands Region.  The Highlands and Islands Region comprises of; Argyll and Bute; Caithness, Sutherland and Ross; Comhairle nan Eilean Siar; Inverness and Nairn; Moray; Orkney; Shetland; Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch.

Declaration of Constituency Result

Orkney Islands Constituency - Highlands and Islands Region



Total votes cast







of votes


BOWN, Samuel Anthony John (commonly known as Samuel Bown)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party



DRAKE, Coilla Anne (commonly known as Coilla Drake)

Scottish Labour Party



LESLIE Robert Fraser

Scottish National Party (SNP)



MCARTHUR, Liam Scott

Scottish Liberal Democrats



Total Valid Votes



Reason for rejection


of votes


Lack of official mark or unique identifying mark



Voting for more than one candidate



Writing or mark by which the voter could be identified



Unmarked or void for uncertainty



Total Rejected Votes



The following candidate is duly elected to serve as a Member of the Scottish Parliament for the Orkney Islands Constituency:

MCARTHUR, Liam Scott - Scottish Liberal Democrats

John Weir Mundell OBE

Constituency Returning Officer

Friday 7 May 2021


Latest Election News

Notice of times for inspecting returns as to election expenses

I, John Weir Mundell OBE, Constituency Returning Officer for the above Election, in accordance with the Scottish Parliamentary Elections Order 2015 Articles 50 and 55, do hereby give notice, that the election expenses returns, declarations and all accompanying documents of candidates at the above election may be inspected between the hours of 10 am to 4 pm Monday to Friday, except public holidays, at Orkney Islands Council, Council Offices, School Place, Kirkwall, Orkney (Tel: 01856 873535) for a period of one year after receipt by me.

17 June 2021

Regional votes announced

The number of votes cast in Orkney for parties and candidates on the Highlands and Islands Regional List has been announced.

7 May 2021

Liam elected as MSP for Orkney

Voters have elected Liam McArthur to represent Orkney at the Scottish Parliament.

7 May 2021

Scottish Parliament Election count underway

John Mundell, Constituency Returning Officer for the Orkney Islands constituency, said: “Voters in Orkney have had the opportunity to vote to elect a Member of the Scottish Parliament and for Members of the Highlands and Islands region.

7 May 2021

Let the count begin

The ballot boxes are pictured arriving at the Pickaquoy Centre in Kirkwall this morning, Friday, ahead of the count for the Scottish Parliament Election.

The estimated timing for the constituency declaration is around 14:00 (2pm), while the regional totals are expected to be announced before 17:00 (5pm).

7 May 2021

Council staff ensure hospital patient can vote in the Scottish Parliament election

Every effort is made by Council staff to ensure that everyone who wants to vote can – even if that means hand delivering a replacement postal vote for someone in hospital!

4 May 2021

Election Day – what to expect

Everyone is encouraged to vote in the Scottish Parliament election on 6 May – and this year folk are reminded that there will be some additional safety measures in place due to COVID-19 for those choosing to cast their vote in person.

26 April 2021

Scottish Parliament election – postal votes advice

Local electors are encouraged to return postal votes in plenty time for the Scottish Parliament election in May.

More than a third of the 17,668 people on the Electoral Register in Orkney have registered to vote by post – 6,098 in total (34.5%). The number of electors who’ve applied for a postal vote has gone up by 1,793 since December 2020.

26 April 2021

Scottish Parliament election - voting by proxy

Electors are reminded that the deadline to apply for a proxy vote is less than a week away.

21 April 2021

Postal votes arriving soon

People across Orkney are encouraged to look out for their postal votes next week.

15 April 2021

Vote deadline fast approaching

Residents must ensure they are on the Electoral Register by midnight on Monday 19 April if they wish to vote in the upcoming 6 May Scottish Parliament election.

12 April 2021

Postal vote reminder

The Council’s Election Team has issued a reminder that the deadline to apply to vote by post in May’s election is coming up fast – it’s 17:00 on Tuesday April 6.

1 April 2021

Candidates announced for the May election

Four candidates have put their names forward to stand for the Orkney constituency in the Scottish Parliament Election in May.

31 March 2021

Voter deadlines for Scottish Parliament election

Local voters are being reminded that key deadlines are approaching ahead of the Scottish Parliament election.

Everyone eligible and aged 16 or over on Thursday May 6 has the right to vote in the election.

It is important that all residents wishing to vote ensure they are on the Electoral Register – and to do this by midnight on Monday 19 April.

26 March 2021

Notice of Election – Scottish Parliamentary election

The Notice of Election for the Scottish Parliamentary election was published today (Monday 15 March).

The election will be held on Thursday 6 May to elect MSPs to the Scottish Parliament.   

15 March 2021

May Election polling cards will start arriving through Orkney letterboxes next week

Polling cards will be arriving through Orkney letterboxes next week from around Thursday 18 March for all those eligible to vote at the forthcoming Scottish Parliament election on 6 May – and you will see that two of our regular Polling Stations have moved.

12 March 2021

Would you like to vote by post this May?

Orkney Islands Council’s Elections team is reminding people of the option to vote by post at the upcoming Scottish Parliament election in May.

22 February 2021

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