EIGHTEEN councillors have already won their seats for the next term, despite the election not happening for another month. 

Nominations for the local authority vote on May 5 closed yesterday, with a record number of wards uncontested. 

Though they haven't won a single vote, those elected will be in place until 2027.

According to analysis by the Ballot Box Scotland website, it’s the highest number of uncontested elections since the switch from First Past the Post to Single Transferrable Vote in 2007.

And in at least three wards, there weren’t enough candidates, which means there will be by-elections.

Among those elected without a contest, is Labour stalwart, Stephen McCabe, who is currently the party’s leader on Inverclyde council. 

As only he and the SNP’s Christopher Curley and Tory David Wilson are standing in the three-seat Inverclyde East ward, all will be automatically elected.

Buckie in Moray is also uncontested, with the SNP, Tories and LibDems all picking up a seat without a battle. 

In Shetland, the broadcaster Tom Morton has been elected for Labour, the party’s first councillor on the isles since 1994. 

The ex-BBC Radio Scotland show host said he was “absolutely thrilled and extremely surprised.” 

“First Labour gain of the Scottish council elections,” he added.

Labour leader Anas Sarwar tweeted: "Congratulations to @thebeatcroft on his #LabourGain in Shetland North. You’ll be a fantastic Councillor (and Leader of the Labour Group…)."

Caol and Mallaig in Highland saw the Greens return their first councillor, with only the party’s Andrew Baldrey, LibDem John Grafton and Tory Liz Saggers standing in the three-seat ward.

The party said they were “very excited” to have won but were concerned about the “severe lack of democratic interest.”

Taking to Twitter, the Highland and Islands Greens called for councillors to be paid a full wage: “Simply put: in a healthy democracy, many people should seek to represent their community at all levels of government.

"This year, across the Highlands and Islands, there are several unelected councillors. In at least one ward, there will even be a by-election because not enough folk stood to fill all the seats. 

“This is a democratic warning everyone must hear.” 

They called for a reinvigoration of local democracy: “We must allocate more budget to pay councillors for their work and open up this position to people who must earn a whole salary to provide for themselves and their family. 

“We must help our councillors get the work done with extra support. MSPs have money to hire staff. Councillors are expected to do their job alone. Council civil servants don't have enough time or people to support them properly."

In Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, both the Barraigh agus Bhatarsaigh and Sgìr Ùige agus Carlabhagh wards are under-contested, with just one person standing in each. 

It was the same scenario in the Shetland Islands, where only two candidates stood in the three seat North Isles ward.