Electoral showdown draws closer

Preparations are well in advance for this week’s by-election, with council staff readying the floor for Thursday’s electoral showdown.

In all, 70 staff, including presiding officers, polling clerks and information officials will be on hand during this week’s vote.

Twenty-eight polling places are being opened, containing a total of 34 polling stations.

The Gilbertson Park Games Hall in Lerwick will have seven polling stations set up for 4,296 voters.

In contrast, the Uyeasound hall in Unst will open its doors to 96 voters.

Over 800 voters could walk through the doors of the Scalloway hall to cast their vote.

The most northerly polling station is the North Unst Public Hall, which could see up to 293 voters turning out to have their say in Shetland’s political future.

Voters in Foula, Papa Stour, Skerries and Fetlar are mostly expected to use the postal vote service.

In all, 2,919 postal votes have been issued. As of Tuesday afternoon, 61 per cent had already been returned.

SIC returning officer Jan Riise said postal votes could also be handed in at any polling station if voters felt they might not arrive on time.

He added school pupils had shown an interest in the by-election, with youngsters expected to attend the Thursday night count at the Clickimin Leisure Centre.

Mr Riise insisted officials would be on hand to help any first-time voters who may be feeling daunted by the experience.

“Sixteen and 17-year-olds get a vote, and that is a distinction from Westminster and EU elections,” he said.

“It’s important people are not apprehensive, because people are there to help.”


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