97% of those eligible to vote have registered, including many first-time voters. In principle, there could be 4.28 million votes cast today. Anything above 3,424,000 votes cast is record-breaking: that’s over 80%, highest turnout in Scotland in five decades.
Vote Yes: vote No: if you can’t make up your mind go to your polling station and write “Undecided” or “Team Scotland” or “A plague on both your houses” on your ballot. But go to the booth, stare at your ballot, see if you can’t make up your mind for one or the other: and if you can, then make your vote, and no repining.
If you want your vote counted, best to use the pencil provided in the voting booth to make a clear X in the box next to your choice. (Yes, you can use a pen if you want, but the Electoral Commission provides pencils because they make a thick black line that is very difficult to erase and won’t run or blur if the ballot paper gets wet.)
Make no other mark anywhere on the ballot paper. If you do, your vote may not be counted.
Do not take a photo of your ballot paper and publish it on Facebook or Twitter. You will make the Electoral Commission quite unhappy with you.
2. Polling stations are open 7am-10pm. You have to go to the polling place where they have you registered – if you don’t know which one it is, contact the Elections Office and ask. If you get to the polling station before 10pm and you are eligible to vote, you must be issued with a ballot paper and allowed to vote. (If this means there’s a queue, wait in the queue and follow the instructions you’re given by polling station staff: they’ll need to close the doors of the polling station at 10pm, and this may mean rearranging the queue.)
3. Once the voting’s done, the count begins. There are 32 local authority areas in Scotland and once the counting is done for each of them, the result will be returned – earliest results expected about 2am, last results – Edinburgh, Glasgow, the Borders by 5am, Aberdeen by 6am.
4. If there’s a clear win for Yes or for No – if there are simply not enough uncounted votes left to affect the final result – that can be announced immediately it’s known. That’s not likely to happen before 5am, and it might not happen til 7am. So, if you’re of a calm disposition, you might as well have an early night, set your alarm for 6am, and find out the result with your morning cuppa.
5. If you fancy staying up to watch, eight pubs have late licences to watch the results coming in.
6. Pubs open til 3am:
At any of those pubs you’ll probably be able to watch the returns from North Lanarkshire, Perth and Kinross, East Lothian, Moray, Inverclyde, Eilean Siar, Orkney, and Clackmannanshire – 16% of the total vote. If they all return in timely fashion, you might also be able to watch returns from South Lanarkshire, Aberdeenshire, Renfrewshire, Falkirk, Dumfries and Galloway, Dundee, East Ayrshire, Angus, East Renfrewshire, Stirling, or West Dunbartonshire – another 29% of the vote.
Only if you go to The Radical Road, on the A1 heading out to Duddingston (229 Willowbrae Road) will you be able to stay til 5am – another 24% of the vote (West Lothian, South Aryshire, East Dunbartonshire, Argyll and Bute, Midlothian. Shetland, Fife, Highland, and North Ayrshire should all have returned by then) and wait on the three due in at five in the morning: Glasgow, Edinburgh, and the Borders, 22.4% of the vote.
After that, the last due is Aberdeen at 6am – 4.4% of the vote. And then we’ll know.
8. Both Yes Scotland and Better Together have agreed not to call for a country-wide recount. Once the last result is in from the last local authority area, it’s done.
9. The Forest Cafe at Tollcross is holding a breakfast party from 6am: all welcome.
We have no idea what’s going to happen.
All we can do is invite you to find out with us, surrounded by dragon murals, 9-foot mice and people who really care about community, creativity and freedom.
10. The Scottish Poetry Library is holding a Referendum Poetry Read-Round and Breakfast from 11am. (£3/£2: book via Eventbrite.)
11. After that, you should probably go home and get some sleep.
12. “What are you thinking about?” – “Tomorrow.”
13. Edwin Morgan:
When you convene you will be reconvening, with a sense of not
wholly the power, not yet wholly the power, but a good
sense of what was once in the honour of your grasp.
All right. Forget, or don’t forget, the past. Trumpets and
robes are fine, but in the present and the future you will need something more.
What is it? We, the people, cannot tell you yet, but you will know about it when we do tell you.
We give you our consent to govern, don’t pocket it and ride away.
We give you our deepest dearest wish to govern well, don’t say we have no mandate to be so bold.
We give you this great building, don’t let your work and hope be other than great when you enter and begin.
So now begin. Open the doors and begin.
So now begin. Yes or No – Open the doors and begin.