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Huge lead for no vote — turnout tight

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Bermuda appears to have delivered an extremely convincing “no” to both same-sex marriage and same-sex civil unions.

However, today's referendum will only be considered “answered” if there is a turnout of 50 per cent or more — and with 39 out of the total 48 counts completed, the turnout so far was at 38.07 per cent.

Bermudians were posed two questions: are you in favour of same-sex marriage in Bermuda and are you in favour of civil unions in Bermuda?

We'll keep you posted all night as the count continues, so check back for updates. For our live scoreboard, visit www.royalgazette.com/news/article/20160623/results-so-far

1.50am Final result is in for Region 3, the polling station at Elliot Primary School — and nearly a shock in favour of civil unions. But not quite nearly enough. A total of 807 voted yes to same-sex marriage and 1,090 voted no; 943 were in favour of civil unions, with 947 against.

1.40am Count one is finally in for Region 11, where the residents have voted along the same lines as the rest of Bermuda.

1.30am Still absolutely nothing has been reported from Somers Isle Lodge. Not a word, either, from the Parliamentary Registrar on why Region 11, which comprises the parishes of Southampton West Central, Southampton West and Sandys South, has not yet managed to complete its first count, some 5½ hours after polling finished.

12.50am Two more regions have completed all four of their counts: Region 10, the polling station at Heron Bay Primary School, recorded 486 yes votes for same-sex marriage and 1,270 no votes; and 579 yes votes for same-sex civil unions and 1,168 no votes. Region 6, the polling station at West Pembroke Primary School, recorded 258 yes votes and no 1,196 votes on same-sex marriage; and 309 yes votes and 1,142 no votes on same-sex civil unions. The total turnout counted so far is 30.96 per cent, with 32 of the 48 counts now completed.

12.45am The total turnout has reached 28.3 per cent, with 29 out of the 48 total counts now completed. That 50 per cent figure is looking like a tricky target.

12.05am One region has now completed all four of its counts: Region 12, the polling station at Somerset Primary School, recorded 349 yes votes and 1,281 no votes on same-sex marriage; and 440 yes votes and 1,187 no votes on same-sex civil unions. Region 11, the polling station at Somers Isle Lodge, has still not released its first count results.

11.45pm With 22 out of the total 48 counts completed, 2,748 people voted yes to same-sex marriage, with 6,760 voting no. On civil unions, 3,305 voted yes, with 6,173 voting no.

11.15pm More than 5,000 no votes on same-sex marriage have now been recorded. With 11 first counts, six second counts and two third counts completed, 2,351 have said yes to same-sex marriage, while 5,608 said no. For civil unions, no is leading by 5,105 votes to 2,824. Total votes cast is 7,979, or 17.98 per cent. That 50 per cent turnout target remains the main stumbling block for the no-no campaigners.

10.50pm With the no votes so easily outnumbering the yes votes, the most tension tonight could surround the turnout. The referendum will only be considered “answered” if there is a turnout of 50 per cent or more, meaning 22,184 people. After the completion of the first count in 11 regions, and the second count in four, 6,226 votes had been cast, or 14.03 per cent.

10.30pm It's shaping up to be Preserve Marriage's night. The no votes are almost triple the yes votes for same-sex marriage, and about double for same-sex civil unions. Nine regions have now completed their first count and two their second count. Same-sex marriage has 3,377 no voters and 1,265 yes voters. Civil unions have 3,096 no voters and 1,529 yes voters.

10.15pm It's early days for the count, but it's an overwhelming lead already for the no-no campaign. With seven regions having completed their first count, 2,264 have said no to same-sex marriage, with 855 saying yes. For same-sex civil unions, 2,073 said no, and 1,033 said yes.

10pm An extremely convincing start for the no-no campaign. After the first count in three regions, the no score for same-sex marriage was 949, with the yes score on 345. For same-sex civil unions, the no score was 867 and the yes 475.

9.45pm The first results are in. Warwick North East, Warwick South Central and Warwick North Central: 114 yes to same-sex marriage; 309 no to same-sex marriage; 128 yes to same-sex civil unions; 294 to same-sex civil unions.

9.15pm Results will be presented by region, so you will be able to see how each geographical area of the island voted. The results will show how many people voted yes or no to same-sex marriage and how many voted yes or no to civil unions. Updates will be provided in four counts throughout the evening.

9pm The wait is on. Officials have said all ballots are being counted at the polling stations, by six official vote counters with observers in attendance. No estimate has been given for a final result but parliamentary registrar Tenia Woolridge has warned that, at the last election, the count did not conclude until 2am.

8pm Time up — and some people appear to have missed their chance to vote. Our reporter Lisa Simpson is at the National Sports Centre: “Doors were locked at 8pm sharp. Less than a handful of latecomers were turned away by police officers while those who had made it just in time were still allowed to cast their vote after the doors had been locked.”

7.15pm Dellwood Middle School polling staff also say some voters turned up at the wrong station based on past assumptions.

“This is region 7 — we had some people coming here because they voted here last time,” an officer told our reporter Jonathan Bell. “Things got shifted around because they had to balance out the regions.”

7pm With the arrival of the final hour, weary polling staff at Dellwood Middle School — who have put in a long day without air conditioning — said there had been no last-minute rush but a “steady stream” all day. Zealous early voters even knocked at the door first thing, they said. It was impossible to guess whether turnout had been sufficient to satisfy the 50 per cent required, but it had certainly been hard work for the staff.

5pm It's the end of the working day for most people and the polling stations are expected to get busier from here on in. Our reporters and photographers will be working throughout the evening to keep you posted on any referendum news as it happens. We want to know how you voted, so please e-mail messages and photos to news@royalgazette.com if you'd like to share how you marked your ballot paper and the reasons why. There is still time to vote so scroll down to our 11am update to find your polling station.

4.15pm The polls close in less than four hours and the results of today's referendum will be posted live as they are announced on the website of the parliamentary registrar. We'll be updating this article until the small hours with the results too. The polls will close at 8pm and the result is not expected until much later in the evening.

3.45pm We reported today that for a valid result in this referendum, there must be a 50 per cent turnout — that means 22,184 people must take the time to go to the polls. For an definitive answer to either question, we calculate that there will need to be a minimum of 11,313 yes or no votes i.e. 51 per cent of the minimum turnout required.

Those figures might sound high but we just checked and at the last referendum, 21 years ago, 22,236 people voted, a turnout of almost 59 per cent. That ballot, of course, was on independence and the resulting was a resounding no (74 per cent).

2.40pm Rajan's final stops were at Somers Isle Lodge and Somerset Primary School. She told us a lot of people were lined up to vote at Somers Isle Lodge and most were seniors. At Somerset Primary School: “Not many voters here but officers said it's been very steady. It should pick up after 5pm.”

If you haven't yet voted, you still have more than five hours to do so because the polls don't close until 8pm. If you don't know where to vote, you can check the boundaries map to find out your constituency and then check the list of polling stations. Take official ID to the polling station. The office of the parliamentary registrar is on 293-8683.

2pm Reporter Rajan Simons is now visiting the west end polling stations. She says it's “very quiet” at Heron Bay Primary School. “Officers said there was a rush of people at 8am and 12pm. Things are starting to slow down now.”

1.40pm It's lunchtime but Rajan says there are only a few people at the Bermuda College polling station. She told us referendum officials said there had been a “very good steady stream of about 30 people lined up as of 8.30am this morning”. It is busier at Windreach, according to Rajan: “A lot of people are moving in and out of Windreach. There has been a steady flow of people since 8am here as well.”

We are almost halfway through the voting day, with a little more than six hours left to go before the polls close. Let us know how you voted by e-mailing news@royalgazette.com.

12.35pm Rajan Simons stopped in at Dellwood Middle School a little while back and spotted just two voters. But she says: “Officers say there has been a flow of people entering the station until now.”

12.15pm Parliamentary registrar Tenia Woolridge has issued a warning to people not to forward potentially “misleading” messages regarding today's referendum. Here is her full statement: “The parliamentary registrar has been made aware that there are voice notes and videos being circulated on social media that appear to be misleading. Voters are asked not to forward these messages to others as it is an offence under the Referendum Act 2012. The questions for this referendum have not changed and are straightforward questions. They are

• are you in favour of same sex marriage in Bermuda? and

• are you in favour of same sex civil unions in Bermuda?

“The voter has an option of answering either ‘yes' or ‘no' for each question by marking the appropriate box.”

12pm Rajan Simons has been visiting polling stations in the east end and central areas all morning. She just told us that at Elliot Primary School it was hard to get parked due to the amount of people coming into the school. “People of all ages are entering,” she says. “Like Francis Patton, officers say that there was a queue before 9am.”

At the Botanical Gardens Horticultural Hall, there was a “small queue of voters waiting to get inside” which was mostly seniors being dropped off. “The sun is out and it is actually getting warmer, which is not good for those queuing without shelter.”

At the National Sports Centre Pavilion there were several voters queuing up. “There's a small argument outside between two older people,” reports Rajan. “A few politicians have come to vote this morning.”

At West Pembroke Primary School, Rajan didn't spot many voters but said those that were there were mainly seniors.

11.30am Reporter Lisa Simpson just dropped in to a couple of the west end polling stations. She says: “At about 11am, there was a steady flow of voters heading in and out of the Somers Isles Lodge polling station, while fewer voters were heading to Somerset Primary School to cast their ballot.”

11am Just a reminder for voters of where all 12 polling stations are located — you have nine hours left to cast your ballot! If you don't know which constituency you live in, check the boundaries map here.

The polling stations are:

• Penno's Wharf cruise ship terminal — St George's North (1), St George's West (2), St David's (3)

• Francis Patton Primary School — St George's South (4), Hamilton East (5), Hamilton West (6)

• Elliot Primary School — Hamilton South (7), Smith's South (8), Smith's West (9)

• Botanical Gardens Horticultural Hall — Smith's North (10), Devonshire East (11), Devonshire South Central (12)

• National Sports Centre Pavilion — Devonshire North Central (13), Devonshire North West (14), Pembroke East (15)

• West Pembroke Primary School — Pembroke East Central (16), Pembroke Central (17), Pembroke West Central (18)

• Dellwood Middle School — Pembroke West (19), Pembroke South West (20), Pembroke South East (21)

• The Bermuda College Student Centre — Paget East (22), Paget West (23), Warwick South East (24)

• Windreach — Warwick North East (25), Warwick South Central (26), Warwick North Central (27)

• Heron Bay Primary School — Warwick West (28), Southampton East (29), Southampton East Central (30)

• Somers Isles Lodge — Southampton West Central (31), Southampton West (32), Sandys South (33)

• Somerset Primary School — Sandys South Central (34), Sandys North Central (35), Sandys North (36).

10.55am It seems that Francis Patton has been busy this morning. Our reporter Rajan Simons has just told us: “Several more voters coming in and out of the primary school. I was told by an officer that this morning there was a long line of people waiting to get in. People are hanging around after voting.”

10.30am Our reporter Rajan Simons is taking a look at the turnout at all the polling stations. She just checked in from Penno's Wharf Cruise Ship Terminal in St George's with this: “Only one or two voters entering the polling station. St George's is busy with mostly tourists that have come off the ferry next door.” We also heard from a voter who went to Heron Bay Primary School to cast their ballot shortly after 9am today and said voters were “light on the ground”. In contrast, former senator LaVerne Furbert posted this on Facebook about her attempt to vote first thing: “When I got to Francis Patton [Primary] School there were just too many people waiting in line. I guess I'll go back during my lunch hour and vote.”

10am The website of the Parliamentary Registry is back up and running after it was “temporarily suspended” yesterday. Locals who need to check where to vote should now be able to do so at www.elections.gov.bm. The map showing the constituency boundaries is here.

9.30am Our photographers report a steady stream of voters at various polling stations in the east end and central areas: Francis Patton Primary School, Penno's Wharf in St George's, the Botanical Gardens, Elliot Primary School and Bermuda College.

Same-sex referendum: Region 3 polling station, Elliot Primary School. (Photograph by Akil Simmons)
Same-sex referendum: Region 1 polling station, Penno's Wharf in St George's. Senator Renee Ming with her son, first-time voter Jari Ming, 21 (Photograph by Akil Simmons)
Same-sex referendum: Region 2 polling station, Francis Patton Primary School. (Photograph by Akil Simmons)
Same-sex referendum: Region 8 polling station, Bermuda College (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)
Same-sex referendum: Region 1 polling station, Penno's Wharf. (Photograph by Akil Simmons)
Same-sex referendum: Region 1 polling station, Penno's Wharf. (Photograph by Akil Simmons)
Same-sex referendum: Region 1 polling station, Penno's Wharf. (Photograph by Akil Simmons)
Same-sex referendum: Region 7 polling station, Dellwood Middle School (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)
Missed chances: Doors to the National Sports Centre polling station were locked at 8pm sharp and several late comers were turned away (Photograph by Lisa Simpson)

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Published June 23, 2016 at 10:58 am (Updated June 24, 2016 at 2:58 am)

Huge lead for no vote — turnout tight

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