THE race to win Renfrewshire seats at Holyrood has entered the final straight, with voters going to the polls tomorrow.

Three local constituencies are up for grabs – Renfrewshire South, Renfrewshire North and West and Paisley.

Voters will also elect seven MSPs to represent West Scotland from the regional list.

There are five candidates standing in Renfrewshire South, which stretches from Johnstone to Barrhead.

Flying the flag for the SNP again is Tom Arthur, who hopes to retain the seat he gained from Labour in 2016.

He is up against Paul O’Kane (Scottish Labour), Derek Stillie (Scottish Conservatives), Christine Cosh (Scottish Liberal Democrats) and Andy Doig (Scotia Future).

The Gazette: There are five candidates standing in Renfrewshire SouthThere are five candidates standing in Renfrewshire South

It is also a five-way fight in Renfrewshire North and West, where there will be a new MSP, as previous incumbent Derek Mackay is stepping down.

Mr Mackay had represented the constituency for the SNP since it was formed in 2011 but has quit in shame after it was revealed he bombarded a schoolboy with inappropriate text messages.

This time, the SNP candidate is Natalie Don and she faces competition from Julie Pirone (Conservatives), Johanna Baxter (Labour), Ross Stalker (Lib Dems) and Martin Bell (Scottish Family Party).

In the Paisley seat, the SNP’s George Adam hopes for more success, having represented the constituency for the last decade, but he is up against Neil Bibby (Labour), Russell Findlay (Conservatives), Eileen McCartin (Lib Dems) and Scott Bevan (Scottish Greens).

Around 500 staff will be employed across 68 polling places in Renfrewshire – containing a total of 201 polling stations – to ensure voting runs smoothly and safely during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

They will be assisted by cleaners and Covid marshals.

Votes will be collected at the stations in 402 ballot boxes, as well as more than 120 postal vote boxes, which will then be taken to Braehead Arena, in Renfrew, where they will be counted and verified.

Unlike in normal times, there will be no overnight count tomorrow. Instead, results will be announced on Friday and Saturday.

The Gazette: The five candidates for Renfrewshire North and West hope to replace Derek MackayThe five candidates for Renfrewshire North and West hope to replace Derek Mackay

Renfrewshire Council has confirmed it is expecting returning officer Sandra Black to declare the results of both the Paisley and Renfrewshire North and West constituencies on Friday night.

The result for Renfrewshire South is expected to be confirmed on Saturday afternoon, with voters having to wait until later that day to discover the outcome of the West Scotland regional vote.

Council chiefs have issued guidance to voters on how polling stations will be kept safe, in a bid to ease fears over the spread of Covid-19.

As they arrive at their polling place, every voter will be greeted by a Covid supervisor, who will ask them to sanitise their hands before they go inside.

Voters are being asked to bring a face covering with them but one will be provided to those who forget. Anyone who is exempt from wearing a mask will need to explain this to a supervisor.

Once inside, visitors will be required to follow directional signs as a one-way system will be in place at all venues.

They will then need to go to the ‘master board’ to find their address and work out which station they should use to mark their ballots.

At each station, the polling clerk will ask for the voter’s name and address and remind everyone to stay two metres away from other people in the venue.

Voters do not need to bring their polling card with them.

The Gazette: Candidates from five parties are on the ballot for PaisleyCandidates from five parties are on the ballot for Paisley

The presiding officer will provide everyone with two ballot papers – one for the constituency vote and the other for the regional list vote – and will be on hand to explain the additional member voting system if necessary.

People will be allowed to bring their own pen with them to vote if they wish but single-use pencils will be provided otherwise.

Cleaners will be working at every polling place and booth to regularly sanitise surfaces but voters will also be able to clean booths themselves if they prefer, with wipes being provided by staff.

After people have folded their ballots and put them in the appropriately marked boxes, they will be led out of the station by a Covid supervisor and will be able to sanitise their hands again as they leave.

The council has put together a video on its YouTube channel summarising all of the health and safety measures being taken for anyone who wishes to find out more at

Make sure you get The Gazette next week for full results and reaction from the election.