Two weeks to ensure you have a say on the Alternative Vote referendum

Potential voters are being encouraged to check soon whether they are eligible to vote in a possible major change to the UK's electoral system.

If you are not registered to vote, or will need a postal vote, you have just two weeks to act.

On the 5 May vote, UK voters will be asked: "At present, the UK uses the ‘first past the post’ system to elect MPs to the House of Commons. Should the ‘alternative vote’ system be used instead? Yes/No."

If you're not yet on the electoral register you won't be able to vote - and most people only have until 14 April to return the completed forms. Although registration forms are available online, that deadline includes having to print one off, sign it and post it in time for 14 April..

Applications for postal votes also have to be made by 14 April (15 April in Scotland).

In England, you would then be eligible to vote for local elections also taking place on 5 May. In Scotland it is also the day for Scottish Parliament elections, in Wales for the Welsh Assembly and in Northern Ireland for the Northern Ireland Assembly.

Would-be voters are being reminded that just because you pay council tax, that does not mean you are automatically on the register. Check with your electoral registration office.


Over the next few weeks The Independent will be highlighting what the Alternative Vote means, the arguments for and against change and how you can make sure your vote counts.