After what feels like an eternity of campaigning, Britons will finally get the chance to vote on the whether the country should remain in the European Union on Thursday.
The referendum is being billed as one of the most important political events in Britain’s history. Here is everything you need to know about voting day and key details you need to watch out for.
When can people vote?
Polling stations will open at 7 a.m. BST on Thursday, June 23 at 382 centres nationwide and close at 10 p.m. BST.
What will the question be?
Each voter will be given a single piece of paper with the following question:
Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union?
They will be asked to put a cross beside either “remain a member of the European Union” or “leave the European Union.”
Will there be an exit poll?
Unlike the General Elections, there will be no exit poll for the EU referendum. This is because the margin of error is thought to be too large.
This means that until results start to be announced in the early hours of Friday morning, we will only have opinion polls published in the previous days to use as indicators of public opinion.
When will we find out the result?
Each local counting area will begin counting votes as soon as voting closes at 10 p.m. BST. The first results are expected to be announced at around 1 a.m. BST Friday morning with the final declaration set to be made at around 7 a.m. BST.
We will have a very good idea of the outcome at around 4 a.m., according to the Electoral Commission. That is because three-quarters of the counting areas are expected to have declared by this time.
However, if the margin of victory is close, which is possible given the nature of recent opinion polls, then we may not have a clear picture of the result until closer to 6 a.m. This timescale is illustrated in the below chart, produced by HSBC.
The official result will be announced by Chief Counting Officer Jenny Watson in the city of Manchester.
Any particular constituencies to keep an eye on?
The city of Lancaster in north west England is set to be a key indicator of what the final outcome could look like. This is because, as Business Insider explained earlier this month, the city is being described by experts as Britain’s bellwether region.
Public opinion towards Britain’s EU membership in Lancaster is very close to the national median. This means that if voters here lean towards either Leave or Remain, then this voting trend will likely be replicated nationwide.
The result from Lancaster is expected to be declared at around 3.30 a.m. BST Friday morning.
How the vote turns out in the north eastern region of Sunderland could also give us a massive clue about the national result, according to University of East Anglia academic Chris Hanretty.
His research has led him to expect a six-point victory for Leave in Sunderland (53/47). This means that if the result is closer than this, then Remain will likely win overall, if Hanretty’s research is accurate.
Sunderland will be one of the first regions to announce its result. Expect to hear from there at around 11.30 p.m. BST on Thursday night.
When is your constituency expected to announce its result?
The Electoral Commission has published a full list of when each constituency is expected to announce its result. Check it out here.
Business Insider will be covering the referendum live.
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