September 22, 2020

Scottish independence: Voting under way in referendum


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_77666156_pollinghighlandFrom BBC

People in Scotland are voting on whether the country should stay in the or become an independent nation.

Voters will answer “Yes” or “No” to the referendum question: “Should Scotland be an independent country?”

With 4,285,323 people – 97% of the electorate – registered to vote, it is expected to be the busiest day in Scottish electoral history.

Votes will be cast at 5,579 polling stations until 22:00 on Thursday. The result is expected on Friday morning.

Strict rules mean the BBC – in common with other broadcasters – is not allowed to report details of campaigning until after the polls close.

Voters queuing in Glasgow Voters queue up in West Glasgow to answer the question: Should Scotland be an independent country?

A voter at Peebles polling station A voter at Peebles polling station was pleased to have made his mark

Young voter First-time voters have also been out in force, like this one at Peebles

A number of councils around the country have said polling stations are busy, with some seeing queues both ahead of the polls opening and throughout the morning.

Stirling Council area counting officer Bob Jack said: “There has been a steady stream of voters and we have been very busy.”

In East Renfrewshire, there were queues before the polls opened this morning and a steady stream since, a council spokeswoman said. Some voters have been kissing their ballots, she added.

Voters in Edinburgh These voters in the south of Edinburgh were among the first to have their say on Scotland’s future.

Voters in formed a queue outside the polling place in Portobello, Edinburgh, before voting began.

One man was arrested outside a polling station in Clydebank after an alleged assault. said the man was detained on Faifley Road at 08:30.

Once the polls have closed, ballot papers will be counted in each of Scotland’s 32 local authority areas.

These will include votes cast from the 789,024 postal vote applications, which was the largest volume of registration for postal votes ever in Scotland.

After votes have been tallied, the counting officer in each area will communicate the result to the chief counting officer Mary Pitcaithly in Edinburgh.

With her approval they will then make a declaration of the result.

Campaigners for both the Yes and No campaign have been casting their votes

Once the results from all 32 local authority areas are known, will declare the result of the referendum at the Royal Highland Centre outside Edinburgh.

Ms Pitcaithly has said she will announce the result at “breakfast time” on Friday.

The result is most likely to be between 06:30 and 07:30, according to Elections Scotland.

That is because the final Scottish declarations in the 2010 UK parliamentary elections and the 2011 Scottish parliamentary elections declaration were made at those times respectively.

However, running totals – which can be made from the first declaration onwards – may indicate a result earlier in the morning.

At the scene

By BBC Scotland correspondent James Cook

It was a grey dawn in Edinburgh, the moisture clinging to the old buildings, seeping into the sandstone.

At Tollcross Primary School, the weather didn’t seem to deter the voters. The first arrived at five minutes to seven, before the polls had opened, clutching her voting card, eager to be the first to place her cross.

As the morning wore on and the darkness began to recede, the first trickle of voters became a stream.

A paramedic in his hi-vis jacket, a businessman in a smart suit, schoolteachers, a man clutching his baby to his chest; all were heading to the same destination – the ballot box for a private moment with a pencil and paper – and a choice: Yes or No.

These were personal moments, private and privileged, there was a stillness about the scene.

The airwaves, full of chatter for so long, had fallen silent as required by law. This was the moment, not for politicians or commentators, but for Scotland to speak. Tomorrow, we will find out what it said.

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