16:42 18 September 2014
Voting is now underway to decide whether Scotland will stay in the UK or become an independent nation. Voters will simply answer “Yes” or “No” to the referendum question: “Should Scotland be an independent country?”
The election is estimated to be participated in by more than 4 million people and it is expected to be the busiest day in the country’s electoral history. Votes will be cast at 5,579 polling stations until 22:00 on Thursday. The result is expected to be announced on Friday morning.
Due to strict rules, all broadcasters are prohibited from reporting details of campaigning until after the polls close when the ballot papers will be counted in each of Scotland’s 32 local authority areas.
Once the votes have been tallied, the counting officer in each area will communicate the result to the chief counting officer Mary Pitcaithly in Edinburgh. After getting her approval, officers can declare the result in their respective areas.
Once the result for the 32 local authority areas have been declared, Ms Pitcaithly will declare the result of the referendum at the Royal Highland Centre outside Edinburgh.