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Edinburgh Live

West Lothian Election 2022: Postal votes and independents make for nail-biting count

A surge in postal votes and more independents on the ballot should make for an interesting count on Friday.

More than 30,000 postal votes were requested in West Lothian, many more than for 2017. Commentary on social media suggesting that the pandemic gave postal voting a boost, and the final figures will be released later Friday.

Two well-known names appeared without political flags on the ballots in Livingston, and according to one of them, the election of both could make a difference.

READ MORE: Edinburgh council elections 2022 LIVE blog

In Livingston South Eddie Anderson, a former editor of a local newspaper who now runs the West Lothian News Facebook page, said he was the only one of the 73 candidates seeking office who had never belonged to any political party.

He was also keen to point out that he’s spent no money on his election campaign. Eddie described the vote as "tightly- contested” and added: “Independents could hold the balance of power, and that would mean power lying directly in the hands of the electorate, rather than any political parties.”

In the neighbouring ward, East Livingston and East Calder, another big field of ten candidates for four seats included veteran councillor Frank Anderson.

Frank, the longest serving councillor in West Lothian. represented the people of craigshill from 1988 until his de-selection by the SNP earlier this year, stood against party colleagues as an independent.

Across in Linlithgow, Conservative hopeful Chris Horne aims to fill the seat held for thirty years by retired provost Tom Kerr. He told the Local Democracy Reporting Service: “There's a strong turnout on postal vote from what I see. However the turnout at the polling stations has been slow and steady. If all is to be believed I am confident just now.”

Labour veteran Tom Conn is looking to retain his seat. And Depute Labour group leader Kirsteen Sullivan said voters were coming back to the party.

"Some voters were saying they are switching from both Tory and SNP, certainly whenever I've spoken to people on the doorstep the national issues both at Scottish and UK level are having an impact on how they feel & say they'll vote," she said.

"I've had really positive conversations and found people more than happy to express their concerns so for me it has been good. Ultimately the voters decide so we'll see what tomorrow brings!"

The Greens - standing in all nine wards for the first time in this poll - have worked hard in Linlithgow, and elsewhere. Candidate Pamela Barnes is well known through the local community Development Trust.

In Livingston South their candidate Cameron Glasgow claimed first in the voting booth at the 7am opening of the poll yesterday.

There was also an early start in Whitburn with the polling stations busy shortly after 7am, according to social media reports.

It was a chilly for the start of voting in Livingston South, but SNP candidates reported a warm reception at polling stations, especially for recently elected Maria MacAulay. A party spokesman said: “By the end of my two hour stint, a fair few more voters had come and gone, with a sizeable number of them again giving us warm greetings and words of support.”

He added that the response remained positive at another polling station later in the afternoon.

“By all accounts, the wind seems to be in our sails”, he said.

Out in Armadale and Blackridge another long serving councillor and Independent, Stuart Borrowman is hoping to return to the council chamber.

He told the Local Democracy Reporting Service: “With one-in-seven electors having cast their vote by post, polling stations are “steady” rather than exceptionally busy.

“Polling staff expect new working patterns to affect the times people vote but overall it looks to be heading towards a similar turnout here as last time.”

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