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Sun shines on a polling day as nation decides its future.

Byline: Alicia Melville-Smith Reporter

THOUSANDS of voters across South Wales and the UK cast their votes yesterday.

Voter turnout is predicted to be the highest for any general election since 1997.

Bookies Paddy Power has reportedly paid out on bets that more than 68.5% of people will have turned out to vote across the country yesterday. The turnout in 1997 when Tony Blair beat John Major's Tories was 71.4%.

In Bridgend, queues were reported at Westward Community Centre, Cefn Glas, at 7am as the doors were opened at polling stations and again at 7pm.

Queues were reported at several polling stations in Cardiff including at Llanover Hall in Cardiff West where staff said it was the busiest polling day they'd ever seen - and at polling stations in Cardiff Central.

Cardiff Central and Cardiff North have been considered key marginals in GE2015.

Cardiff North was won by the Conservatives in 2010 by just 194 votes. David Cameron's ambitions to stay in Downing St will have been dealt a blow if Labour wins back the seat.

Likewise, Ed Miliband would be a step closer to becoming prime minister if Labour takes Cardiff Central from the Liberal Democrats.

During the day, UK-wide polls suggested the Conservatives and Labour were neck and neck. Populus put them on 33% of the vote each, while an Ipsos-Mori poll put the Conservatives on 36% and Labour on 35%.

Labour leader Ed Miliband and his wife Justine cast their votes just after 8am at Sutton village hall in his Doncaster constituency.

Ukip leader Nigel Farage cast his at Eastcliff community housing office in Ramsgate, Kent.

Green Party leader Natalie Bennett cast her vote at Ossulston Tenants' Hall in London and in Glasgow, SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon cast her ballot by 9am.

Conservative leader David Cameron and wife Samantha cast their votes at Spelsbury Memorial Hall in Witney, Oxfordshire.

Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood voted in Penygraig, Rhondda Cynon Taff, by 11am.

One enterprising local eaterie took the opportunity to advertise specials including "Leanne's Lasagne", "Ed's Egg, Ham and Chips" and "Cameron's Cod".

At noon, Nick Clegg was the final party leader to cast his vote - accompanied by his wife Miriam Gonzalez Durantez at Hall Park Centre in his Sheffield constituency And in Port Talbot, Labour candidate for Aberavon Stephen Kinnock was joined by his wife the Danish PM Helle Thorning-Schmidt as he cast his vote.

Unusual polling stations included a caravan in Lincolnshire, a freightbox and The Hare and Hounds pub in Corsham, Wiltshire.

Landlord Mark Foster, 41, said: "Having a polling station here makes it accessible for voters - it is an easy play to find, with a big car park. Of course, it is always nice to stop for a drink after voting too."

Voters had to walk past a tank to access the polling station at the Royal Artillery Museum in Woolwich, east London.

Rachel Williams took time out of her big day to cast her vote wearing a full white wedding gown.

The 42 year old said: "I didn't want to waste my vote, so I popped into the polling station on my way to the church.

"I'm backing Labour all the way.

"It drives me nuts when people say they are not going to vote. If you waste your vote, you lose your entitlement to moan at the result."

Rachel voted separately from fiance Mike Court - so he wouldn't see her before they tied the knot near their home in Newport.

More than one million used a special button on Facebook to share the news that they have voted in the general election.

Facebook revealed on Wednesday that for the first time in a UK general election, the social network would have the I'm a Voter button, enabling users to tell friends on the site they had voted, and on the morning of the vote, more than 1.2 million users had logged their news.

Facebook said it believes it can have a positive effect on voter turnout, quoting a study carried out in 2012 by science journal Nature that found that 300,000 people went to the polls in the US because they saw news of their friends voting on the social network. Millions also turned to Twitter to register the fact they had voted, with #IVoted trending for most of the day, At 4pm Boris Johnson and his wife Marina Wheeler were pictured leaving a polling station in Islington, north London, after casting their votes. It came after a whirlwind 48 hours for the London Mayor in which he has crisscrossed the English capital in a bid to win over swing voters in 20 marginal constituencies.

As the polls shut at 10pm, many candidates across South Wales thanked their supporters, after they all spent the day on doorsteps encouraging constituents to vote for them.

Mari Williams, Labour's parliamentary candidate for Cardiff North, tweeted: "That's it. Whatever the result in #CardiffNorth so proud of all the work of our team. #Forthemany".

Her Tory rival Craig Williams tweeted with one hour to go: "Just one hour left to cast your vote. Thank you to everyone who has voted so far and to the volunteers. #CardiffNorth".

At the count in Pontypridd three Labour supporters Dafydd Morgan, Alan Matheson and Kevin McDonald said were feeling confident that Labour's Owen Smith would comfortably hold Pontypridd, despite Liberal Democrat's Mike Powell running him close last time round.

They also remained sceptical about the exit poll showing the Tories out ahead saying there was a long night ahead.


David and Samantha Cameron, Nick Clegg and Miriam Gonzalez Durantez |and Ed and Justine Miliband arrive to cast their votes yesterday

| It was an important day as the electorate went to the polls in the 2015 General Election. But some four-legged |friends were also trying to make their mark on the political landscape. #DogsAtPollingStations was trending on Twitter yesterday as owners shared their pictures of just what the hashtag says. And one example was Noah, who turned up to vote in Cardiff North with his owner Lillie West.

A polling station at the Royal Artillery Museum in Woolwich, east London

Green Party leader Natalie Bennett arrives to |cast her vote at Ossulston Tenants' Hall, London

Leanne Wood in Penygraig, Rhondda, with |Plaid candidate Shelly Rees Owen
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Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:May 8, 2015
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