Referendum result ‘won’t be declared in early hours’

The referendum will take place on Thursday 18 September 2014. Picture: Jane Barlow

The referendum will take place on Thursday 18 September 2014. Picture: Jane Barlow

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The result of next year’s independence referendum is unlikely to be declared in the early hours of the morning, a new report shows.

While ballots will be counted overnight, a paper from Chief Counting Officer (designate) Mary Pitcaithly said this did not mean the result would be announced overnight.

“Getting the result right is more important than getting it quickly. An estimate of a final result cannot be given with any confidence,” her report said.

The report said turnout, volumes of postal votes and logistical factors dependent on the geography and climate would determine how soon the vote will be announced after the 18 September vote.

The paper said “many factors”, such as bad weather or a high turnout, could cause extended counts and a later declaration.

In Argyll and Bute, votes are normally counted the day after an election because ballot boxes are brought in from islands, but plans are in place to tally the votes overnight.

“Whatever plans are put in place, weather or road conditions may delay ballot boxes. This would delay the overall national result,” the paper said.

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