Scottish election 2021: Edinburgh voters head to the polls
The polls are open and voters in Edinburgh have started casting their ballots in the 2021 Scottish parliament election.
Voting begins at 7am and the polls will stay open until 10pm this evening, with some hotly-contested marginal seats up for grabs.
The results in Edinburgh’s six Holyrood constituencies expected to provide an early indicator of the nationwide result as a whole.
On Wednesday, the leaders made final pitches for votes, as Ipsos Mori released a final survey suggesting that the SNP is on course for an overall majority.
Weather-wise, it’s forecast to be a chilly May day in Edinburgh and the Lothians, with a gentle breeze and hail showers expected alongside sunny intervals. Temperatures are anticipated to reach a high of 7C in the afternoon.
In keeping with coronavirus restrictions, voters are expected to wear face coverings unless exempt and polling staff will have coverings to offer to voters if needed.
Two-metres physical distancing will be maintained, which may involve a limit on the number of voters in a polling place at one time.
Voters will be asked to sanitise their hands on the way in and the way out.
Covid restrictions have also halted the traditional through-the-night counting of votes, with counts being staggered over two days.
Edinburgh City Council is holding the count at The Royal Highland Centre, near the airport, but unlike previous elections votes will be counted from 9.30am onwards on both Friday and Saturday.
The council will split the count equally over the two days - meaning three constituencies will be counted each day, rather than all six at once.
The Edinburgh Central, Edinburgh Southern and Edinburgh Western constituencies are set to be counted on Friday, and Edinburgh Eastern, Edinburgh Northern and Leith, and Edinburgh Pentlands will be counted on Saturday.
The final survey by Ipsos Mori for STV News projects Nicola Sturgeon’s party could take 68 seats, a majority of three, picking up 50 per cent of the vote in constituencies, and 39 per cent in the regional list.
The poll has the Tories and Labour both losing seats, dropping to 27 and 19 respectively, while the Greens will jump to 11 seats and the Lib Dems will lose one, ending on four.