EDINBURGH, Scotland (AP) – Voters in Scotland turned out in unprecedented numbers for an independence referendum and with most votes counted today, results suggested a strong wish to keep Scotland’s 307-year union with England.
With 26 of 32 regional electoral centres reporting, the No side had about 54 per cent of the vote to about 46 per cent for the Yes side. Those against independence also scored a big win by strongly taking Aberdeen, Scotland’s oil capital.
The average turnout was 86 per cent – a record high for any Scottish election.
The Yes camp appeared resigned to defeat.
Saying she was “personally bitterly disappointed” with the results, Deputy Scottish National Party leader Nicola Sturgeon told BBC that Scottish nationalists “need to pick ourselves up and move on”.
After the polls closed late yesterday, a nationwide count began immediately. Many Scots stayed up overnight in homes and bars, awaiting the result.
“Why not roll the dice for once?” Yes supporter Thomas Roberts said at one Edinburgh polling station. “I’m going to sit with a beer in my hand watching the results coming in.”
At Highland Hall outside of Edinburgh, where the final result will be announced later today, vote-counters at dozens of tables sorted through paper ballots, watched keenly by monitors from the Yes and No camps.
Eager voters had lined up outside some polling stations even before they opened yesterday. More than 4.2 million people had registered to vote – 97 per cent of those eligible – including residents as young as 16.
For some, it was a day they had dreamed of for decades. For others, the time had finally come to make up their minds about the future – both for themselves and for the United Kingdom.