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Vote Counting Begins in Scotland on Independence

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A woman uses an umbrella featuring the words: 'Scotland's Future in Scotland's Hands' in Edinburgh, Scotland, on September 15, 2014, ahead of the referendum on Scotland's independence. British Prime Minister David Cameron on Monday was to plead with Scots to vote against independence in a referendum as Scotland enters the most decisive week in its modern history. AFP PHOTO / LEON NEAL LEON NEAL/AFP/Getty Images

Story by the Associated Press; curated by Oliver Darcy.

EDINBURGH, Scotland (AP) — The polls have closed and vote counting is underway in Scotland's historic referendum on whether to end the country's 307-year-old union with England.

Polling places reported a heavy turnout Thursday. More than 4.2 million people were registered to vote — 97 percent of those eligible.

A woman uses an umbrella featuring the words: 'Scotland's Future in Scotland's Hands' in Edinburgh, Scotland, on September 15, 2014, ahead of the referendum on Scotland's independence. (Leon Neal/AFP/Getty Images)

As soon as the polls closed, vote counting began at 32 regional centers across Scotland. The final result on the independence vote is expected sometime after 0500GMT (1 a.m. EDT) Friday.

A vote for independence will trigger 18 months of negotiations on how the two countries will separate their institutions before Scotland's planned Independence Day on March 24, 2016.

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