Super Thursday: Britons vote in a bumper crop of elections
LONDON (AP) — Millions of British voters were casting ballots Thursday in local and regional elections, and the choices of Scottish voters in particular could have huge repercussions for the future of the United Kingdom.
On what has been dubbed Super Thursday, around 50 million voters were eligible to take part in scores of elections, some of which had been postponed a year because of the pandemic that has left the U.K. with Europe's largest coronavirus death toll.
At stake is the make-up of devolved governments in Scotland and Wales and the next mayors for England's big cities, including London and Manchester. Thousands of council members, police commissioners and other local authorities are also seeking seats. No elections were taking place in Northern Ireland.
A special election will also fill the U.K. parliamentary seat of Hartlepool in the north of England. The vote there could show whether Prime Minister Boris Johnson's Conservative Party is still making inroads into parts of the country that the Labour Party has dominated for decades.
The result of that race is expected early Friday, but the outcomes of the other elections will take longer, with some possibly not emerging until Sunday, partly because of restrictions related to the pandemic.
More voters than usual were expected to cast postal ballots, while those still going to polling stations were encouraged to bring their own pen and wear a face mask. With traditional doorstep campaigning restricted because of the pandemic, there are concerns about low turnout in many of the races.
The election that could have the biggest U.K-wide implications was taking place in Scotland, where the governing Scottish National Party is looking for a renewed mandate that could speed up the prospect of a second independence...