Counts in more than half of Scotland’s parliamentary constituencies are to begin later, as the country awaits the outcome of its strangest election since devolution.
Votes in some 46 of the 73 constituency seats will be counted from about 9am on Friday, with the first results expected from noon.
It is anticipated all 46 should be declared by Friday evening.
Then, from about 9am on Saturday, the remaining 27 constituency seats will be counted, after which the regional seats will be allocated.
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, there is a staggered tallying up of ballots for the 2021 Holyrood election, with all results expected to be declared by Saturday evening.
Normally, counting begins immediately after the polls close at 10pm and continues overnight, with results confirmed in the early hours.
But the need for social distancing among count staff has meant votes will be tallied from Friday.
This year’s election, while conducted under the constraints of coronavirus rules, is also considered to be one of the most important since the Scottish Parliament opened in 1999.
With the SNP set for another five years in government, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon will no doubt ramp up the pressure on Westminster to grant the powers for another vote on Scottish independence.
Her opponents in the Tory, Labour and Liberal Democrat parties have stressed the importance of focusing on Scotland’s recovery from coronavirus instead
But the SNP leader and her party have said no referendum will be held until after the immediate health crisis is over, and they insist powers gained through independence would actually improve the recovery in Scotland.
Sturgeon has said another pro-independence majority in the Scottish Parliament, including the Greens and Alba Party seats, should be enough to let Scots vote again on whether they want to leave the UK.
On Thursday, two voters in Glasgow North West said they were temporarily turned away from a polling station because a ballot box was “too full”.
Nadeem Basharat, 37, said he and his partner Joanne Basharat, 34, went to Jordanhill Parish Church polling station at around 8.30pm and were told they could not cast their vote at the time.
He said he was told ballot box 52 was too full and he was told to “come back by 10pm”, by a steward who was “quite vague”.
He told the PA news agency: “We went home and waited and got there for about 9.30pm and managed to get in, ballot box 52 was still pretty full, like it had just been pushed down and not a new box.
“It looked like there were people there who didn’t manage to vote first time around.”
A spokesman for Glasgow’s returning officer said: “The sheer size of the regional paper meant some ballot boxes became full. We were able to deliver replacement boxes, but in this case some voters were asked to wait outside before voting.
“The presiding officer is confident that all voters who were asked to wait were ultimately able to vote.”
The constituencies counting on Friday are: Aberdeen Central; Aberdeen Donside; Aberdeenshire East; Airdrie & Shotts; Angus North & Mearns; Argyll & Bute; Ayr; Banffshire & Buchan Coast; Caithness, Sutherland & Ross; Clydebank & Milngavie; Coatbridge & Chryston; Cowdenbeath; Cunninghame North; Cunninghame South; Dumbarton; Dundee City West; East Lothian; Eastwood; Edinburgh Central; Edinburgh Southern; Edinburgh Western; Ettrick, Roxburgh & Berwickshire; Falkirk East; Glasgow Anniesland; Glasgow Maryhill & Springburn; Glasgow Pollok; Glasgow Southside; Greenock & Inverclyde; Hamilton, Larkhall & Stonehouse; Inverness & Nairn; Kilmarnock & Irvine Valley; Kirkcaldy; Linlithgow; Midlothian North & Musselburgh; Moray; Motherwell & Wishaw; Na h-Eileanan an Iar; North East Fife; Orkney Islands; Paisley; Perthshire North; Renfrewshire North & West; Rutherglen; Shetland Islands; Stirling; and Strathkelvin & Bearsden.
The remaining 27 which will begin counting from roughly 9am on Saturday are: Aberdeen South & North Kincardine; Aberdeenshire West; Almond Valley; Angus South; Carrick, Cumnock & Doon Valley; Clackmannanshire & Dunblane; Clydesdale; Cumbernauld & Kilsyth; Dumfriesshire; Dundee City East; Dunfermline; East Kilbride; Edinburgh Eastern; Edinburgh Northern & Leith; Edinburgh Pentlands; Falkirk West; Galloway & West Dumfries; Glasgow Cathcart; Glasgow Kelvin; Glasgow Provan; Glasgow Shettleston; Mid Fife & Glenrothes; Midlothian South, Tweeddale & Lauderdale; Perthshire South & Kinrossshire; Renfrewshire South; Skye, Lochaber & Badenoch; and Uddingston & Bellshill.
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