Decision Day For Scotland: Voters Go To Polls
Updated: 1:46pm UK, Thursday 18 September 2014
People in Scotland are voting on whether the country should stay in the UK or become an independent nation.
Polling stations opened at 7am and people have until 10pm to cast their ballot, with the result expected to be known by breakfast time tomorrow.
Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond voted at Ritchie Hall polling station in Strichen, Aberdeenshire, two hours after polls opened.
Mr Salmond, leading the Yes campaign, was joined by two first-time voters, 18-year-old Natasha McDonald and Lea Pirie, 28.
He gave both women a soft Yes toy as a mascot for their vote and the trio stopped for pictures on their way in.
Despite long days of campaigning, the First Minister said he managed to get a good rest on the eve of the vote.
Former Chancellor and leader of the Better Together campaign Alistair Darling was photographed with his wife Maggie and No campaigners in Edinburgh.
He was booed by some, but cheered by others, as he arrived at the polling station at the Church Hill Theatre in Edinburgh.
He told reporters: "It's been a long, hard two-and-a-half year campaign, passions have been aroused on both sides, and understandably so because we are talking about the biggest single decision that any of us will ever take in our lifetime."
Former PM Gordon Brown arrived at the polling station at North Queensferry Community Centre, Fife, to cast his vote.
He shook hands with No campaign supporters, as well as one Yes voter, who were waiting for him in the mist.
After casting her vote, Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon tweeted: "I've just voted #Yes to Scotland becoming an independent country. What a wonderful feeling."
Elsewhere, queues formed outside polling stations across the country from early morning as turnout was expected to be as high as 90%.
There was an alleged assault at a polling station in Clydebank, a few miles northwest of Glasgow. Police arrested a 44-year-old man over the incident in Faifley Road at 8.30am.
More than 2,600 schools, sports centres and local halls have opened their doors to voters.
Four million voters are being asked a simple question: "Should Scotland be an independent country?"
A Yes vote at the end of a hard-fought campaign will bring an end to the Union of the United Kingdom that has stood for 307 years.
After the polls close tonight, counting of the votes takes place at 32 regional centres all over Scotland.
Then, once each result is in, the numbers will be sent to the main counting centre in Edinburgh.
The earliest declarations, at around 2am on Friday, will include North Lanarkshire, Orkney, East Lothian and Perth and Kinross.
The latest, at 6am, is expected to be Aberdeen. Dundee is expected at 3am and Edinburgh and Glasgow at 5am.
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