Scotland politics

Scottish independence: More than 4.2 million voters register ahead of referendum

polling cards

More than 4.2 million people have registered to vote in the independence referendum, making it the largest electorate ever in Scotland.

A record number of people have also registered for a postal vote, with the total reaching 789,024.

The figures were announced by the chief counting officer for the referendum, Mary Pitcaithly.

She urged voters to plan ahead and avoid peak times in an attempt to minimise queues.

A total of 4,285,323 people had registered to vote by the deadline of Tuesday 2 September.

There are an estimated 4,410,288 people over 16 resident in Scotland, according to 2012 figures from the Scottish government.

This suggests that 97% of the total number of people eligible to vote have registered.

The counting officers at Scotland's 32 local authorities have put measures in place to reduce the risk of queuing at polling stations on 18 September.

In most areas, a maximum of 800 voters have been allocated to each polling station and many polling places will allocate additional staff to assist during busy times.

However, Ms Pitcaithly called on voters to avoid the busiest times of the day if they could.

"People who are voting at a polling place should think about what time they are going to vote," she said.

"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 for any length of time."


Ensuring your vote counts

  • To vote in the referendum you must have registered by midnight 2 September, 2014.
  • If you are unsure if you are registered you can contact you local electoral registration office and they will tell you.
  • The deadline to register for a postal or proxy vote was 5pm on 3 September, 2014
  • The deadline for an emergency proxy is 5pm on 18 September, 2014
  • Make sure your postal vote arrives by 10pm on 18 September, 2014
  • Vote at polling places between 7am and 10pm on 18 September, 2014

BBC Scotland reporter Andrew Black takes you through how to register and cast your ballot in this interactive guide.


Ms Pitcaithly also urged people to complete their ballot paper carefully.

She said: "I want everyone's vote to count, whether they are voting by post or in person at a polling place on 18 September.

"It's vital that everyone takes great care when completing their ballot paper. Mistakes mean that a ballot paper may not be counted.

"The safest way to ensure your vote counts is to only put one 'X' in the box beside the answer you want to choose.

"Postal voters should ensure they complete their date of birth and signature correctly on the postal voting statement. They have to match the information held on file otherwise we cannot include the ballot paper in the count."

Across Scotland, there are 2,608 polling places with a total of 5,579 polling stations.

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites