EDINBURGH (Reuters) - Scots vote on whether to declare independence from the United Kingdom in a referendum on Thursday. Following are details on how and when the results are due.
The ballot paper will ask: “Should Scotland be an independent country?” Voters will be asked to put a cross in either a Yes or No box.
Polling stations open at 0700 London time and close at 2200 London time.
Nearly 800,000 people registered for postal votes, which must arrive by 2200 London time on Thursday.
Reuters knows of no exit polls planned for after polling stations close at 2200 London time.
The latest aggregate poll of opinion polls puts the anti-independence camp on 51 percent, the secessionists on 49.
The result will only be formally announced when all the results from 32 local counts are in. The chief counting officer will announce each local result as it comes in.
However, either side only needs 50 percent plus one vote of the total turnout so the result should be clear before every ballot paper has been counted.
Results are likely to start coming through from around 0200 London time on Sept 19. However, Scotland’s biggest cities of Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen may not report results until after 0500 London time.
A national result will be known “around breakfast time” on Friday, according to a media release prepared by the counting office.
With the major cities reporting late or last, the result will be uncertain through the night.
The councils with the largest share of the electorate, which could most easily affect the overall result, are Glasgow with 11.35 percent of the vote, Edinburgh with 8.81 percent, Fife with 7.05, North Lanarkshire with 6.27, South Lanarkshire with 6.09 and Aberdeenshire with 4.82 percent.
Together, they account for nearly 45 percent of the electorate.
However, earlier results may provide some indication of how the vote is going, with nationalist-supporting areas such as Moray expected to report early and Orkney, expected to reject independence, also likely to be among the first to declare.
A late surge in registrations means that 4,285,323 people now registered to vote. At 97 percent of the over-16 population, the electorate is the largest in the nation’s history.
The election is open to those 16 years old and over who live in Scotland. Voters must be a British, qualifying Commonwealth or European Union citizen and must have registered by the Sept. 2 deadline.
Reporting by Alistair Smout, editing by Guy Faulconbridge