A small army has been mobilised to ensure that the voting goes as smoothly as possible in Dundee. Under the guidance of returning officer David Dorward, the council’s chief executive, will be 150 polling clerks and 140 presiding officers. The city itself has been divided into 76 polling areas, with 136 stations — including many schools, which will close to pupils for the day. There are a similar number elsewhere in Tayside — Angus will be split into 69 polling areas with 160 polling stations and Perth and Kinross has 87 polling areas with 163 stations. As there is such a high turnout expected, counting officers across Scotland have been told to print enough for 120% of their electorate. Dundee witnessed the highest increase in eligible electors in Scotland — meaning that thousands more ballots than ever before will be printed in the city. Once ballots are cast, the boxes will sit, sealed, until they are transported to the count.
When polls close in the city, ballots will be taken to the Dundee International Sports Centre (DISC). Located in Mains Loan, the site is more used to seeing a football than a ballot box. Before counting even starts, the counting officer — who is in charge of the night in the city — has to verify all the results have been received.
They will then pass the result to the Chief Counting Officer, Mary Pitcaithly, in Ingliston who signs off on all of the night’s results. Every single ballot has to be counted by hand, placed into a pile for yes or one for no. Spoilt votes are also something that is considered seriously. In fact, only counting officers or their deputies can spoil a vote and it needs to be done in writing.