The chief counting officer for the Scottish independence referendum has pledged to ensure that “everybody who wants to vote can vote”, as unprecedented numbers prepare to cast their ballots on Thursday. “There will be no barriers or impediments, and we want everyone’s vote to count,” Mary Pitcaithly told the Guardian, reiterating that she had “no concerns” about the conduct of the vote, after a Better Together source predicted “carnage” on polling day. She emphasised that anyone who was queuing when polling closes at 10pm would still be allowed to vote. The law was changed in Scotland in 2012, and in the rest of the UK a year later, after incidents at the last general election when some voters were denied the chance to cast their ballots despite being in line at the cut-off time. She added that careful planning for a very high turnout meant that she did not anticipate long waits to vote.
Across Scotland’s 32 local authorities, there will be 2,608 polling places in local schools and halls, with a total of 5,579 individual polling stations inside. In most areas, a maximum of 800 electors have been allocated to each station, a significant reduction in the allocation for an ordinary election in order to accommodate the expected numbers.
… Pitcaithly encouraged voters to take care when completing their ballot to avoid accidentally spoiling their papers. The Electoral Commission has also issued guidance for newly registered and first-time voters. 109,533 16-17-year-olds have registered after being given the right to vote for the first time in the referendum.