Letter from the editor: Your country needs you!

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The Independent Online

Spare a thought for campaigners on both sides of the AV debate. The chance to change our voting system comes along maybe once in a lifetime, so you might think it would be a straightforward task to engage the public in the matter.

All right, I know that, when we are four years away from a general election, there’s a certain lack of urgency about the issue of voting reform. And I agree that, compared with, for instance, Pippa Middleton’s bottom, it is a subject that generally fails to capture the public’s imagination. But, still, tomorrow we have a chance to alter fundamentally our democratic process, and you can imagine what the conversations were like in both the Yes and No camps.

OK, they’ll have said, it’s rather unfortunate timing, but as soon as the Royal Wedding is over, and everyone’s gone back to work, we’ll really be able to engage them in the arguments. And then what happens? Osama bin Laden is tracked down and killed, the news agenda is dominated by that single story, and the battle for AV effectively becomes a one-day campaign.

Tomorrow we go to the polls to decide on a matter of the utmost importance, which could change the face of the Mother of Parliaments, and even at this late stage there’s a sense that a huge proportion of the electorate hasn’t fully engaged with the subject. That’s why, on page 8 of today’s i, we’ve got a special cut-out-and-keep guide to the AV vote, which explains the arguments for and against a change to the system. We, of course, won’t presume to influence you one way or the other, save to say one thing: just make sure you get out and vote.Your country needs you!