Counting has started in the Scottish Parliament election, with reports of "record" voter turnout.

Results are due to come in over two days as coronavirus safety measures ruled out the traditional overnight count.

Votes in 46 of the 73 constituency seats began being counted at about 9am, with the first results expected in the afternoon.

More than half of the country’s constituencies expected to declare on Friday.

And it appears Scots were not deterred by Thursday's challenging weather, after parts of the country saw snowfall, with reports of long lines and ballot boxes that were "too full".

Two voters in Glasgow North West said on Thursday they were temporarily turned away from a polling station.

Nadeem Basharat, 37, said he and his partner Joanne Basharat, 34, went to Jordanhill Parish Church polling station at around 8.30pm and were told they could not cast their vote at the time.

He said he was told ballot box 52 was too full and he was told to “come back by 10pm”, by a steward who was “quite vague”.

He said: “We went home and waited and got there for about 9.30pm and managed to get in, ballot box 52 was still pretty full, like it had just been pushed down and not a new box.

“It looked like there were people there who didn’t manage to vote first time around.”

But a spokesman for Glasgow’s returning officer said it was down to the "sheer size" of the regional paper, meaning some ballot boxes became full.

The Herald: Votes are poured out of a ballot box at the Emirates Arena in Glasgow ready for countingVotes are poured out of a ballot box at the Emirates Arena in Glasgow ready for counting

They said: "We were able to deliver replacement boxes, but in this case some voters were asked to wait outside before voting.

“The presiding officer is confident that all voters who were asked to wait were ultimately able to vote.”

Humza Yousaf, Scotland’s Justice Secretary and a candidate for the Glasgow Pollok constituency, today arrived at the election count in the city’s Emirates Arena, and said there had been high turnout at many polling stations in his constituency and around the country.

A campaign 'like no other'

Speaking to reporters, the SNP candidate said the last six weeks had been a campaign “like no other”.

He said: “We’ve only been able to knock doors for the last three weeks, normally we would have done months and months of canvassing.

“So really strange in that respect, difficult to get a feel on the doors because of that lack of data coming back.”

Saying the SNP were feeling buoyant, Mr Yousaf said: “There is people who will take a high turnout as a positive sign for them, but I suspect every party will say that.”

READ MORE: Poll shows independence low on priority list but SNP has widespread trust of voters

He added: “I think the SNP’s going to have a good night, but I think other parties also I can see there’s an uptick in their vote too.

“So really it’s going to come down to the wire in some seats I suspect.”

The Glasgow Pollok constituency is expected to declare later on Friday.

Meanwhile, Jason Allardyce, editor of the Sunday Times Scotland, wrote on Twitter today: "Turnout for #Holyrood2021 seems to be up - possibly even reaching a record level."

The final total of voters registered for the Scottish Parliament election has been confirmed at 4,280,785 – the highest electorate ever for a Scottish Parliament election.

Candidates in the closely-contested Holyrood seat of Edinburgh Southern have welcomed the high turnout of postal votes as counting continues.

The seat was won by Scottish Labour’s Daniel Johnson at the 2016 election, defeating then SNP incumbent Jim Eadie by a majority of 1,123 votes.

Edinburgh Southern was also the only constituency in Scotland to elect a Labour MP, Ian Murray, to Westminster at the 2019 general election.

The Holyrood seat is a key target for the SNP as it aims for an overall majority.

Across the six Edinburgh constituencies, the postal vote turnout was 89.2%, with a record 91,068 ballots returned, according to the council.

Mr Johnson said he is “feeling positive” as the initial postal votes started to be counted, while SNP challenger Catriona MacDonald said she feels “quite hopeful” given the turnout of her party’s supporters on Thursday.

She told the PA news agency: “In our strongest areas, people were really, really engaged and really keen to go out and vote, even despite the weather.

“We had people queuing outside the polling place in hail and rain, but I went round to pretty much every polling place and it was really positive.

The Herald: Three candidates for the Edinburgh Southern constituency (left to right) Catriona MacDonald (SNP), Miles Briggs (Conservative) and Daniel Johnson (Labour), watch as votes are counted for the Scottish Parliamentary Elections at the Highland Hall in Ingleston, Edinburgh.Three candidates for the Edinburgh Southern constituency (left to right) Catriona MacDonald (SNP), Miles Briggs (Conservative) and Daniel Johnson (Labour), watch as votes are counted for the Scottish Parliamentary Elections at the Highland Hall in Ingleston, Edinburgh.

“There have been a lot more postal votes than usual – it’s about 13,000 postal votes in our constituency.

“Given the very unusual circumstances of the election it’s probably not surprising, but it’s a really positive thing so no-one misses out.”

Speaking shortly before midday, Mr Johnson said: “The turnout looks like it’s been very strong, there was queuing at the polls and most importantly we were getting a very positive reaction on the doors – we weren’t necessarily sure that that would be the case.

“So we’ll have to see what the count brings us, but I’m feeling good about the campaign we’ve run and we’ll see what final tallies are.”

Scottish Conservative Miles Briggs is also contesting the constituency and – as with Mr Johnson – is also top of his party’s regional list ballot.

He told PA: “Speaking to Conservative activists, we were happy that we turned out our voters and our supporters, and we were getting great feedback yesterday.

“The campaign’s been very different, we’ve tried to get people to register for postal votes, that seems to be successful.

“We have obviously seen a huge increase in the turnout as well so we’ll need to wait and see what sort of impact that has.

“We’ve run a positive campaign and we’ve tried to focus people on lending us their regional list vote, and from the early indications we’ve seen already from postal votes, we seem to be winning these across the three seats which are being counted today.

“So I’m really optimistic about what that presents for the final result here in Lothian.”