Scottish independence referendum: How to vote

Polling stations are open until 10pm tonight

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Polling stations are now open on a historic day for Scotland as voters determine whether the country should remain part of the United Kingdom. A record 97 per cent of the electorate have registered to vote – or 4,285,323 people.

Anyone wishing to vote in person needs to do so before 10pm tonight at the polling station indicated on their card. If you arrive before 10pm and are still waiting to vote, you will be able to cast your ballot.

People who registered should have received a polling card in the post. You do not need to take your card to the station in order to be able to vote.

For those unsure of where their local office is, enter your post code here to find out. Anyone voting by post also must make sure their postal vote is returned by 10pm. You can also return it by hand before 10pm at at a polling station in your local authority area.

Unfortunately, if you have not registered to vote, it is too late to do so now. It is possible to apply for an emergency proxy vote in exceptional circumstances before 5pm on polling day. You can find out how to apply here.

Video: Scotland votes

Once you have arrived at a polling station, you will be asked to provide your name and address to a member of staff. You will then be given a piece of paper with the question: "Should Scotland be an independent country?" Select 'Yes' or 'No' by putting an 'X' in the relevant box.

When you have marked your vote, fold the ballot paper in half and put it in the ballot box. Do not let anyone see your vote.

There are 32 local authority areas in Scotland and turnout is expected to be high.

The results are expected to begin trickling in from as early as 2am on Friday, while an unofficial estimate is putting the announcement at between 6.30am and 7.30am.

When will the result of the referendum be announced?
Analysis:What might happen if Scotland votes Yes?
Analysis: The topics driving the referendum

The result will be announced by the chief counting officer, Mary Pitcaithly, once it has become impossible for the other side to win. This may happen before the precise final result is known.