British citizens go to the polls today voting in a historic referendum which will decide Britain’s future. According to provisional figures from the Electoral Commission, 46, 499, 537 people are entitled to take part in today’s referendum in the UK and Gibraltar – the highest number of voters ever recorded for a UK election. Polling stations opened at 07:00 BST and will close at 22:00 BST. Once the polling stations close, sealed ballot boxes will be transported to the count venues to each of the local counting areas, which include 38 local government areas in England, Scotland, Wales, and 2 in Northern Ireland and Gibraltar. The final result is expected to be revealed on Friday morning according to the Electoral Commission.
Traditionally, turnout in referendums is low – only 42 % of the population voted on a proposed new electoral system in 2011. However, analysts predict that the high-profile campaigning from the past four months is highly likely to boost figures.
Mixed predictions were offered by a final rash of polls – with two putting Leave ahead and two suggesting leads for Remain. YouGov research predicts that people supporting the Leave campaign are more likely to vote, which means that a low turnout could damage the Remain campaign’s prospects.
Politicians supporting both sides made final pitches yesterday as polls predicted the result is on a knife-edge on the final day of campaigning before the vote. PM David Cameron told supporters in Birmingham that “It is a fact that our economy will be weaker if we leave and stronger if we stay”.