Scotland's referendum likely to break voting records

By staff writers
September 18, 2014

A busy start to voting in Scotland's independence referendum today (18 September 2014) indicates that predictions of a high turnout will be confirmed.

Polling stations reported queues, some of them quite substantial, before the poll opened at 7am this morning. They remain open to 10pm.

Some 4.2 million people, around 97 per cent of the eligible population in Scotland, have reregistered to vote – something unprecedented in the history of the country.

Participation is likely to be higher than for any poll ever to take place in the British Isles.

The vote will decide whether or not Scotland becomes a fully self-governing country – claiming back power from Westminster over economy, welfare, nuclear weapons, international policy, energy and more.

"Scotland's future in Scotland's hands" was the cross-party Yes campaign message on billboards at polling stations this morning.

The Labour Party's official message was "it's not worth the risk", while by contrast the Greens went for "seize the opportunity!"

There are more than 5,500 polling stations across 32 districts nationwide in Scotland, operating from the remote highlands and islands to the big cities of Edinburgh and Glasgow.

The main polls show Yes slightly behind. But a campaigner observed to Ekklesia at lunchtime: "18.5 per cent of the country had voted by 10am. Gorbals (Glasgow) had 22 per cent by 10am. Muirhouse and Gorbals are greatly affected by poverty. These people are not getting out there to vote for No Change. The pollsters have had no access to these voters."

Results from the different areas will come in overnight. Chief Counting Officer Mary Pitcaithly is expected to announce the outcome "around breakfast time" – probably around 8am.

The weather and the sheer volume of votes cast could slow down the counting process.

The vote is potentially the most important political decision impacting the United Kingdom of Great Britain (England, Scotland, Wales) and Northern Ireland in its history.

* More on the referendum from Ekklesia: http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/scottishindependence

[Ekk/3]

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