City of Edinburgh Council's election team staff began checking an estimated 55,000 postal votes this morning in advance of the count proper.

To help prevent fraud, and for the first time in a general election, dates of birth and signatures held on file are being compared with those supplied by voters.

To allow the election result to be announced with the minimum of delay, people are encouraged to return their postal votes as soon as possible. However, they can also hand them in to any polling place in their constituency up until 10pm on 6 May.

Spurtle appreciated CEC's invitation to photograph the process, and then the casually repeated, blood-curdling anecdotes told by staff about what happens to anyone who films the wrong things.