Election 2017: Norfolk and Waveney head to the polls
- Credit: Nick Butcher
After a campaign lasting almost two months, polling stations have opened across Norfolk and Waveney giving people in the region the chance to vote in the 2017 general election.
Millions of votes have already been cast by post – but today polling stations give people the chance to vote in person.
They opened at 7am and are due to remain open until 10pm tonight, after which ballot boxes will be taken to counting centres across the country and an army of council staff and others will spend the next few hours counting the votes.
If you have a postal vote you have been unable to send off, you can take it to your local polling station at any time before it closes at 10pm tonight and it will be counted.
There will be heightened security as a result of the terror threat at polling stations across the region and Norfolk police specials tweeted its officers would be on patrol in Norwich carrying out reassurance visits to polling stations.
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When polls opened at 7am there were two voters were waiting for the doors to open in Hunstanton. While Hunny wasn't exactly sunny, officials said it was too early to say whether the weather would dampen people's enthusiasm to vote.
First through the doors at 7am on the dot was Wendy Rose, 69. She said: 'I've got a hospital appointment. I am ken as well.'
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Asked where she was placing her cross, she added: 'Conservative. I've always been true blue.'
Another female voter wasn't so sure. She said: 'I don't know how I'm going to vote. I always used to vote Liberal and SDP. I used to like David Owen and David Steel but I don't know now.
'It would be awful if that horrible man got in. I'll maybe vote tactically, Conservative.'
There have been queues outside the polling station at Diss Infant School and officials said a lot of people turning out were first time voters of all ages.
They ranged from first time voters who had to be shown how the procedure worked, to more mature people who hadn't previously voted.
Voters included Alex, 22, who said he thinks it is very important for people to get out and vote.
'It is the only time the broad public can have a real genuine say on how politics is conducted in this country,' he said.
Voters were out early this morning in South Norfolk and happy to make their views known.
Ashwellthorpe mum Frances Plume, who had already cast her vote before the school run said: 'I voted before dropping off my daughter Eleanor at school. She came with me so she could learn about the voting process.I voted Conservative - Richard Bacon is the only candidate who visited me.'
Ben White was just about to go in and cast his vote at the polling station at Wreningham Village Hall - he was voting Conservative in the national interest and for business.
'The strength of the pound is critical. If Labour get in the pound will be devolved, according to the markets, and that will affect inflation.
'A weak pound makes everything expensive. That's what Conservatives should have been saying during their campaign, but did not.'
Zoe Barr from nearby Bracon Ash was undecided. She works for the NHS and fears the Tories will destroy it. She was impressed with Jeremy Corbyn's performance during the Leader's Debate but doesn't think he is the person to sort out Brexit.
Labour supporter Freya Whitelock said:' This is the first time in my voting history when I feel a leader really cares.
'The Labour campaign has been full of hope for a better society.'
By mid morning, a steady stream of voters were arriving at King's Lynn Masonic Centre, on an industrial estate on the edge of the town. They included Les and Jan Pyshorn, who believed it was an important election.
'We don't bother with the council ones but there's a lot going on with Brexit and all that,' said Mr Pyshorn, 66.
His 63-year-old wife added: 'I just wanted to make sure my vote counted.'
There has also been long queues at the University of East Anglia throughout the day as students wait to cast their votes with up to 40 people in the queue at some points.
The turnout in East Anglia at the last general election in 2015 was 68pc. The turnout for the EU Referendum in the region in June 2016 was 76pc.
Locally most results are expected to be declared between about 3.30am tomorrow and 5am – but these could be delayed if there are recounts in any seat.
• Our reporters will be covering what is happening locally online with updates throughout the night and reports on the declarations as soon as they happen.
We will have a live blog running from 9pm with all the latest news and reaction both locally and nationally and a special breakfast edition of the paper tomorrow morning.