EU referendum: Polling looking brisk as voting enters final phase

The EU referendum
The EU referendum

The time is ebbing away before the polling stations shut today in the EU referendum.

The 619 polling stations across the country opened at 7am, and are set to close at 10pm.

The head of the Electoral Office in Northern Ireland, Graham Shields, said polling appears “brisk” and that a high turnout is ultimately expected.

A random “dip sample” from various count centres at about 5pm reveals there is a wide variation across different areas – however, the figures are only taken from a random selection of a few count centres in each area, and should be treated with caution.

A dip sample in Foyle showed turnout to have been about 25 per cent; in East Londonderry, and in Mid Ulster, it was about 26 per cent; in North Down, 43 per cent; North Antrim, 36 per cent; West Belfast, 23 per cent.

Mr Shields said: “I can certainly say we’re expecting a high turnout. Polling stations are brisk.”

He added that he would “encourage people, [now] we have got into tea time, not to be leaving it too late to get out and exercise their vote”.

BRING ID:

Those who are still intending to cast their ballots are asked to remember to bring the right kind of photographic identification.

This could be one of the following: an UK or Irish passport; a UK, Irish, or EEA photographic driving licence; a Translink Senior, 60+, War Disabled or Blind Person’s Smartpass; an electoral identity card.

Although centres close at 10pm as standard, due to a change in the law in the last few years, polling stations will now stay open if there is a queue at the venue at 10pm.

The decision on what merits the granting of this extra time is down to the local returning officer.

If you are unsure about any aspect of casting your vote, there’s lots of useful information at www.aboutmyvote.co.uk or you can call the Electoral Commission helpline on 0800 3280 280.

ANNOUNCING RESULTS:

There are 18 different counting centres around Northern Ireland.

Due to the fact that there are no transferable votes, and only two possible voting options, counting will be much faster than in an election.

The first venue which is expected to complete the tally of votes is Foyle Arena, where the electoral authorities have said they estimate the finish time to be 12.30am.

The latest one is expected to be the Seven Towers Leisure Centre, Ballymena, where results are estimated to be in at about 4am.

Across the UK, the Electoral Commission said that a final result is expected by around “breakfast time” on Friday – though, due to the variable nature of electoral counts, they were unable to be more specific.