Scottish independence: Turnout record as 84% vote

Yes and No campaigners outside Eyemouth Polling station. Picture: TSPL
Yes and No campaigners outside Eyemouth Polling station. Picture: TSPL
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TURNOUT IN THE referendum on Scottish independence hit a record high for any election held in the United Kingdom since the introduction of universal suffrage in 1918.

The participation rate of 84.5% topped the previous best of 83.9% recorded in the 1950 general election and dwarfed the tallies in recent Westminster polls, which saw 65.1% vote in 2010 and 61.4% in 2005.

The total - 3,619,915 - will have included many voters who had never cast their ballot before or had stayed away from the polling booths for many years.

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The poll also marked a historic breakthrough by allowing 16 and 17-year-olds to vote in a national election for the first time - something which campaigners including Labour shadow cabinet minister Jim Murphy said should be extended to general elections.

Turnout was elevated across Scotland as the electorate engaged enthusiastically in what both sides described as a “once-in-a-generation” opportunity to shape the future of their nation.

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But particular highs were recorded in East Dunbartonshire (91%), East Renfrewshire (90.4%) and Stirling (90.1%).

Relatively fewer people went to the polls in the urban strongholds where Yes Scotland was relying upon large numbers of supporters to turn out, such as Glasgow (75%) and Dundee (78.8%).