The Scottish Government are considering contingency plan to postpone the May elections due to Covid-19

The Scottish Government are considering emergency plans that will allow them to postpone the May elections due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Press and Journal have printed a document that shows the government have laid out a series of proposals to deal with the upcoming election as coronavirus cases continue to remain high.

The document suggests that the date that people can apply for a postal vote be extended, polling to take place over two days rather than one, a delay to the dissolution of parliament until the day before polling and the chance for the new parliament to convene more than seven days after polling.

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Picture credit: Matt CardyPicture credit: Matt Cardy
Picture credit: Matt Cardy
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It also recommends some measures for consideration including provision to admit an all postal ballot, to extend the power of Presiding Officer Ken Macintosh to postpone the election with at national or local level, or both.

MSPs could also be prevented from seeking privileges of MSPs between March 25 and the postponed dissolution date.

It is noted that the coronavirus situation in March may not be an indicator of how prevalent it will be in May, when the election date is currently set.

It also warns that, despite it appearing as a measure that is up for consideration, provisions for an all postal ballot would not be in place in time.

The document where these contingency plans appear was circulated around the Scottish Government in September, and it was stressed that these measures may not be necessary.

It was obtained by the Press and Journal through a freedom of information request.

On Thursday, a poll by YouGov’s showed a sample of 1,089 adults in Scotland stating their voting intentions for the May elections.

It put the Scottish National Party on 56% for the constituency vote and 47% for the regional list.

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The Scottish Conservatives stood at 19% and 20% respectively, while Scottish Labour were on 15% and 13%.

In an online post accompanying the figures, YouGov’s Adam McDonnell said: “If next May’s Scottish elections reflect these figures, the SNP would be on course for a comfortable majority, increasing its number of seats at Holyrood.”

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