Today's Scotland Vote: What You Need to Know

The vote over Scottish independence is here
By Elizabeth Armstrong Moore,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 18, 2014 4:00 AM CDT
Updated Sep 18, 2014 7:54 AM CDT
Everything You Need to Know About Referendum in Scotland
"No" supporters at George Square, Glasgow, Scotland, on Sept. 17, 2014, wave the Union flag with the Royal Standard of Scotland above, ahead of the Scottish independence vote that takes place today.   (AP Photo/PA, Lynne Cameron)

Scots are taking to the polls today to determine whether Scotland should gain legal independence from the United Kingdom for the first time since 1707. Voters—more than 4 million perhaps, with 97% of the electorate registered to vote—have access to 2,608 polling places across the country between 7am and 10pm local time to have their say, with results expected to be announced at "breakfast time" tomorrow morning, the chief counting officer tells the BBC. And while the "no" vote was long considered to lead the pack, the "yes" contingency is vocal and organized, and an unusually young electorate that includes 16- and 17-year-olds has muddled the predictions, reports USA Today. The two sides are now considered "neck and neck," according to the New York Times.

The implications of a "no" vote are simple: The United Kingdom stays intact. A "yes" decision, however, wouldn't just grant Scotland independence but involve the reworkings of many elements of the country and its relationship with England. Many questions loom. What would the UK be called? What about Scotland's currency? Will it be able to maintain its welfare state? Should Scotland remain united with England under a single monarchy and thus continue its claim to Queen Elizabeth II? And what would the Scottish flag look like? If Scotland votes to go its own way, 18 months of negotiations will ensue before independence is official. "Judging from the tone of the campaign," reports the New York Times, "it will be a messy and acrimonious divorce." (Check out what the queen had to say earlier this week.)

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