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Election / Live: Council by-election count

Stephen Flaws and Moraig Lyall became councillors after quick count on Friday morning

The ballot boxes about to be opened. Photo: Shetland News

The candidates standing in the Lerwick South are: Stephen Flaws, Caroline Henderson, Gary Robinson, Frances Valente, Arwed Wenger.

The candidates, meanwhile, vying in Shetland Central are: Johan Adamson, Julie Buchan, Stewart Douglas, Gordon Laverie, Moraig Lyall.

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That’s it for our live coverage of the by-election count. The work starts now for Shetland’s two new councillors Stephen Flaws and Moraig Lyall, with council meetings scheduled for next week.

Stephen Flaws.

Stephen Flaws, Lerwick South’s new councillor, said he was “absolutely delighted” to be elected.

“I maybe wasn’t expecting the result, but now that it’s here, I am delighted. It was really close, and there was obviously a low turnout, but I think folk are maybe just a bit fed up with elections.

“I think it’s important that folk come out and vote and I’d like to thank everybody that has come out and voted.

“The campaign was really enjoyable. It was really interesting speaking to folk, both with them that agreed with you, and them that disagreed with you. It was really interesting to see where folk sat.

“I think what I took most out of it was that folk were willing to engage and were wanting somebody to represent their views, and hopefully I’ll be able do that.”

Moraig Lyall.

Moraig Lyall says she is “shellshocked, but very pleased” to be elected a councillor for Shetland Central.

“I actually found it [the campaign] really energising,” she said. “I love being out and about and going around the doors, and the people I spoke to on the whole were very positive and encouraging.”

“If I hadn’t been elected, I would still not regret doing it, because I met so many fine folk. I saw some nice corners of Burra and Trondra and things like that I’d never been to before.

“Personally speaking for a while I’ve been looking for something new to get my teeth into, so I’m really excited about this. Quite what it’s all going to involve is a bit of an unknown to me, but I certainly will do my best to repay the faith in all the people who voted for me.”

The Lerwick South result goes to Stephen Flaws.

He received 350 first preference votes, and although Gary Robinson secured 374, the system took into account votes which were not first preference.

It was a very close call – with Flaws only getting elected at the fifth and last stage.

The quota of votes to be elected was 534.

Frances Valente secured 154 first preference votes, while Arwed Wenger got 116. Caroline Henderson received 73.

The results are in – the winner of the Shetland Central by-election is Moraig Lyall.

She secured 344 first preference votes. Julie Buchan received 116, while SNP candidate Stewart Douglas got 111.

Gordon Laverie received 84 first preference votes and Johan Adamson got 77.

Lyall was elected at the third stage of the process. The quota of votes to be elected was 367.

The turnout for the vote in Lerwick South was 31.2 per cent, and the turnout in Shetland Central was 31 per cent.

This is down from the 2017 council election, where 43.7 per cent of Lerwick South turned out and 40.9 per cent voted in the central ward.

Things are moving quickly – by 10.15am all of the ballot boxes had been emptied and the sorters’ shift was over. Now it’s all up to the electronic machines.

A conservative estimate for the results was before midday, but the announcements could be made well before that.

Voters in the Lerwick South and Shetland Central wards went to the polls on Thursday to have their say on who should become Shetland Islands Council’s next two councillors.

Turnout at 5pm yesterday was around 20 per cent, although it remains to be seen if there was a post-work boost to the numbers.

The count is underway as the first ballot boxes are opened.

Shetland’s returning officer Jan Riise said “yesterday went very well”.

Votes will be sorted from the ballot boxes and then counted electronically.

Riise said that the electronic machines can go through around 100 votes per minute thanks to optical recognition.