Scottish independence: What you need to know

With as many as 4.3m Scots - or 97% of the electorate - going to the polls to decide their future today, MT has rounded up everything you need to know about the historic vote.

by Rachel Savage
Last Updated: 19 Sep 2014

When do the polls close?

10pm tonight.

When will we know the results?

Pour yourself a dram of whiskey - it’s going to be a long night. The count starts as soon as the polls close, with the outcome of postal votes (for which there were 789,024 applications) due in at midnight. Results from the 5,579 polling stations in 32 areas will then come in between 2am and 6am - from the tiny Orkney Islands at 2am, to Glasgow and Edinburgh at 5am and Aberdeen at 6am.

Elections Scotland has said it expects to announce the final result between 6.30am and 7.30am, but if one side wins an outright victory before all the votes are in it will be declared sooner. With the polls on a knife edge, though, that’s looking unlikely at the moment.

Any exit polls?

‘Fraid not - there won’t be any official ones and no organisations have said they’re doing any either. You’ll just have to wait for the real thing…

Who gets to do the honours?

Mary Pitcaithly, the chief counting officer, at Royal Highland Centre in Ingliston, Edinburgh.

Could there be any spanners in the works?

Local recounts can be asked for by either side, but counting officers can refuse any requests they deem 'unreasonable'. There isn't any provision for a national recount.

Bad weather could conceivably delay the announcement, as remote islands are having their results helicoptered in. But, for once, the forecast is good.

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