Gaelic Speakers to Get Early Scots Vote Result First

Speakers of the minority Gaelic language may get a sense of how Scotland has voted in tomorrow’s independence referendum before anyone else, as only they will understand one of the earliest results.

Malcolm Burr, the counting officer for Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, the local-government body for the Western Isles, will make the announcement of how the 22,908 registered voters have cast their ballots in Gaelic before translating it into English, a council spokesman, Nigel Scott, said today.

“As it will be a long declaration, he’ll say a couple of lines in Gaelic, then in English,” Scott said in a telephone interview.

The result, which the counting officer for the 130-mile-long (210-kilometer) chain of islands intends to declare by 2 a.m. on Friday, will be one of the first from any of the 32 districts to be declared and will be watched for early indications of how the vote across Scotland will go.

Forty percent of the population of the Western Isles use Gaelic at home, according to the 2011 census, the highest proportion in Scotland. Just over 1 percent of Scotland’s 5.3 million population spoke some Gaelic, the census showed.

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