ALTHOUGH 310 polling stations across the region opened at 7am this morning, nearly 10,000 postal votes had already issued in the Borders.
And anyone who has not yet returned their postal votes can still do so by handing it into the nearest polling station or Scottish Borders Council’s Newtown headquarters today.
Papers already returned have been opened by staff at SBC HQ during the past week, said a council statement.
It added: “This process involves envelopes being opened and postal vote statements being checked. Ballot papers are then placed in bundles in ballot boxes and safely stored at HQ to then be transferred to the count centre, Eildon Mill, to be included in the count process which commences at 9am on Friday, May 4.”
The head of the Scotland office at the Electoral Commission, Andy O’Neill, visited SBC last week to mark the start of the postal vote process.
The local authority’s returning officer, Ian Wilkie, said: “We have been preparing for the council election for several months now and we have a highly skilled team of staff who have been well trained to undertake their duties with the highest degree of accuracy and confidence.
“We have issued 9,674 postal ballot packs across the Borders and we are reminding voters to remember to vote by numbers instead of using an ‘X’.
“Just put the number 1 next to your first choice, number 2 next to your second choice and so on.
“As long as you vote for at least one by using the number 1, your vote will be counted. If you don’t do this, your vote may not be counted.”
Mr Wilkie and his team have printed more than 90,000 ballot papers to ensure the 89,711 voters in the region can cast their vote.
The first results are expected to be announced at Eildon Mill on the Tweedbank Industrial Estate around midday tomorrow.
But it has been predicted that the polling booths in the Borders and across Scotland could see one of the lowest turnouts as the council poll is run as a stand-alone contest rather than alongside general or Scottish Parliament elections.
Keep up to date with the results as they come in tomorrow through TheSouthern’s Facebook and Twitter sites, and at www.thesouthernreporter.co.uk. Also, read full coverage and analysis in next Thursday’s newspaper.