Huge planning goes into Referendum Night in Kingdom

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Council team ready for historic count

Months of planning has been going on behind the scenes as Fife Council prepares for the historic referendum vote.

Extra staff have been drafted to deal with what is anticipated as being a record turn out of voters.

Linda Bissett, depute counting office, told the Press that preparing for the vote has been a huge operation.

“We’ve been planning for this for many months – right back into last year in fact,” she said.

“We are anticipating a high turn out and our planning has been on an 80 per cent turn out in Fife.

“With that in mind we’ll be bringing in additional staff. At the 394 polling stations across Fife there will be 800 staff supported by 30 polling inspectors who will be travelling around on the day.

“Also at some of the busier polling stations we are going to have information officers to help with any queries voters may have.”

Once all voting boxes have been collected and transferred to the Michael Woods Sports Centre in Glenrothes, the verification and counting can begin.

Firstly, counting officer (CO) Steve Grimmond will complete the verification process, ensuring that all ballot papers are accounted for - this includes unused or spoilt papers - which will give the turnout figure for Fife

Ballot boxes will then be delivered to their relevant tables by a box shifter where the counting agents will get to work.

Linda said: “There will be 36 counting tables with around 160 counting agents - more than we would normally have.

“On this occasion councillors, MPs, MSPs and MEPs are entitled to be on the floor so we are anticipating quite a number of observers also.”

Once the Fife count is finished the CO will send the results to chief counting officer (CCO) Mary Pitcaithly in Edinburgh. She will check the figures and authorise Mr Grimmond to share the result with the counting agents. The final result will then be certified with the CCO who will then advise the CO to declare the local totals.

“We’ve put in a lot of hard work and we are confident that our processes are robust and we have the staff in place to deal with any problems which may arise,” Linda said.

“It’s going to be a long night but I’m sure that everything will run smoothly.”