Islanders get ready to vote

Have you made up your mind? This photograph was taken in Marybank, Isle of Lewis.

Have you made up your mind? This photograph was taken in Marybank, Isle of Lewis.

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In total 22,908 people in the Western Isles are on the polling list to vote in the Scottish Independence Referendum.

This figure includes 5,125 postal and postal proxy votes have already been been sent out.

In Scotland as a whole 4,285,323 people have registered to vote on the 18th September, making it the largest electorate ever in Scotland for an election or referendum.

The total electorate figure for the whole of Scotland includes 789,024 people who have applied for a postal vote – the largest volume of registration for postal votes ever in Scotland.

The increase in the electorate reflects the scale of interest in the referendum.

With one week to go until polling day, the Chief Counting Officer (CCO) for the Scottish Independence Referendum is encouraging voters to think carefully and plan ahead to make sure their vote is counted.

Mary Pitcaithly 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.

“People who are voting at a polling place should think about what time they are going to vote. 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.”

The CCO and Counting Officers at Scotland’s 32 local authorities have put measures in place to reduce the risk of queuing at polling stations. Across Scotland, there are 2,608 polling places with a total of 5,579 polling stations. In most areas, a maximum of 800 electors have been allocated to each polling station. In addition, many polling places will allocate additional staff to assist during busy times.

Meanwhile all the Final Issue Postal Ballot Packs for Postal Voters for the Comhairle nan Eilean Siar area have now been issued.

Postal voters are reminded to make sure to follow the instructions. Remember to complete the Postal Voting Statement with your date of birth and your signature, unless you have been granted a signature waiver. Complete the Ballot Paper by putting a cross in the box next to your chosen answer to the Referendum question. You should put your Ballot Paper into Envelope A and seal it. Put Envelope A and your completed Postal Voting Statement into Envelope B, seal that and return it.

Postal Votes have to be received by the Counting Officer by 10pm on Thursday 18 September. If you have left it too late to post, you can drop it off at any polling station within the Comhairle nan Eilean Siar area or at the Main Council Offices, Sandwick, Road, Stornoway.

Voters can obtain more information about the referendum and how to vote at [http://www.aboutmyvote.co.uk|www.aboutmyvote.co.uk|click here].