ON Tuesday we received the latest update on Scotland’s route map out of this Covid-19 pandemic, a series of measures that aim to lift and ease restrictions with the hope that we will return to the levels system on April 26.

The announcement has been met with mixed feelings from the public – people understand that we need to be cautious as we begin to leave lockdown but the lack of detail, clarity or concrete proposals has no doubt left many still asking questions.

One of those issues is the upcoming Scottish Parliamentary elections, due to be held on May 6.

Last month my colleague Councillor Malcolm Cunning made the case for these elections to be postponed, citing examples of how it had been done before for instance in 2001 and the case of a foot and mouth disease outbreak and highlighting the additional pressures that would be placed on council staff if the election was to go ahead at this time.

You just have to look to recent elections taking place across the globe to begin asking yourself whether Scotland is fully prepared for a national election just a mere two weeks from leaving lockdown, especially when there is the possibility of Glasgow and other parts of the country remaining at Level Four restrictions.

In the US, evidence has suggested their recent election led to a spike in cases amongst workers and in some districts, we heard of polling stations having to shut intermittently due to voters showing symptoms or advising staff that they had tested positive – this still happened despite voters being able to cast their votes over weeks and concentrated campaigns to opt for postal voting.

And in Catalonia earlier this month, we saw the Government use major sporting facilities and large market areas as polling stations for the first time to avoid overcrowding, in addition Catalonian authorities developed an app, “Eleccions 14F” which told voters how busy polling stations were at any given time, the scenes from polling stations and counts across the area though still saw poll workers and election staff dressed in hazmat suits as they advised voters of protocol and counted votes.

In Glasgow, we have an additional challenge: on March 18 there will be two Council by-elections held in different parts of our city.

In those by-elections, over 8000 will be asked to cast their ballot at a single School in the West End, and over 11,000 people at one School in the East End.

At that stage we’ll be over a month away from any major restrictions being lifted, with the guidance at that point presumably still being that we should Stay At Home.

Elections are, without doubt, the single most important element of our democracy.

They should be held in a manner that is free, fair and safe. Can the Scottish Government guarantee that?

If they can’t– then is it not time we considered delaying it?