UK

Scottish independence: How to vote in the referendum

The future of Scotland will be decided in the referendum on independence on 18 September. Here's a brief guide on how to make sure your vote is counted.


Am I registered to vote?

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If you have registered to vote, you will have received a polling card advising you where to go to cast your vote.

If you are not sure whether you're registered, you can contact your local electoral registration office to find out. You can enter your postcode here to check which your local office is.

They can also tell you where your polling place is if you have lost your card.

Unfortunately it is now too late to register if you have not already done so.


Where do I need to go?

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If you are voting in person, make sure you travel to the polling place stated on your card between 7am and 10pm.

There are 32 local authority areas in Scotland, which range in size from the Orkney Islands - with around 17,000 voters - to Glasgow, home to more than 485,000 voters.

Turnout is expected to be high. Scotland's Chief Counting Officer, Mary Pitcaithly, has advised: "Polling places are busiest during the early morning and in the evening as people vote on their way to and from work. If you are able to avoid these times, I would encourage you to do so to ensure everyone can vote without having to queue."

You can take your polling card with you but you do not need it in order to be able to vote.


What do I do at the polling place?

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Give your name and address to the staff at the polling place or station. If you need assistance to vote, let them know and they will help you.

You will be given a piece of paper with the question: "Should Scotland be an independent country?" and the options "Yes" or "No".

Show your choice by putting an X in the "Yes" or "No" box on the ballot paper. Only put an X in one box or your vote might not be counted.

Then fold your paper and slot it into the ballot box.


What if I'm voting by proxy?

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The deadline for applying for a proxy vote has now passed.

It is possible to apply for an emergency proxy vote in exceptional circumstances. You can only apply for an emergency proxy vote for reasons relating to a disability, your occupation or an unavoidable absence.

The deadline is 5pm on polling day and applications must be sent to your local Electoral Registration Officer. There's more information and application forms here.


What if I had a postal vote but still haven't returned it?

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If you requested a postal vote, but still haven't sent it back to your local counting officer, you must make sure they receive it by 10pm on polling day in order for it to count.

You should drop off your completed postal ballot at any polling station in your local authority.


Do I need to give my details to tellers?

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Tellers from the two campaigns may sit outside some polling places and ask for your name and address. They do this in order to try to get an idea of turnout and how their side is doing.

It is up to you whether to give your details or not.


What happens next?

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Counting will start when the vote closes at 10pm. Results are expected in the early morning of Friday 19 September.

More information is available in the Electoral Commission's voting guide.