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Politics / European election voter numbers defy expectations

THERE has been a strong voter turnout in Shetland for the European Parliamentary election with 39.6 per cent of the electorate voting – exactly 10 per cent more than in the last European election in 2014.

The large number of postal votes cast has been credited for defying low turnout expectations from the isles’ 17,120 strong electorate. Just over 64 per cent of postal votes were returned compared with a mere 29.5 per cent of potential station votes.

Local deputy returning officer Anne Cogle opens the first box for counting. Photo: Peter Johnson/Shetland News.

Vote counting began with the opening of ballot box one from North Unst and the count was completed in an hour and a half.

The Shetland results will not be released until 10pm at the earliest and the final Scottish result will not be known till Monday owing to no count taking place in the Western Isles on a Sunday.

Unst scored strongly in terms of voters turning out to the stations with 55.1 per cent of eligible voters turning out at Uyeasound Public Hall and 37.8 per cent at North Unst Hall.

Turnout was as low as low as 25.5 per cent at Gilbertson Park Games Hall station three, reflecting a trend of generally better engagement with voters in rural areas.

The postal vote became available to all voters in 2001 but has increased over the years as a means of casting a vote. There was a total of 1,736 postal votes compared with 5,042 votes cast at stations for a total of 6,778 votes.