One of the above: half a million new voters register

Click to follow

The first stage of The Independent on Sunday's One of the Above campaign to boost turnout at the general election has seen a substantial increase in those registering to vote.

Helped by the three main party leaders' exposure to an audience of millions in the first two live televised debates, election watchdogs reported a surge in interest in voter registration, including many young people.

The IoS campaign, which has the backing of Gordon Brown, David Cameron, Nick Clegg and more than 100 leading figures from politics and public life, has two aims: first, to increase registration and then to boost turnout at the ballot box.

According to today's IoS/ComRes poll, 66 per cent say they are "absolutely certain" to vote, indicating that turnout on 6 May will easily surpass the 61.4 per cent who voted in the 2005 election.

The deadline to register to vote has now passed, although people can still apply for a proxy vote until this Tuesday, 27 April.

Those who have applied for a postal vote are now receiving their ballot forms. Mr Clegg, the Lib Dem leader, has attempted to capitalise on his new-found prominence by writing to 600,000 postal voters asking them to vote for his party. Last week he tried to tap into the youth vote by urging the under-30s to register. According to the Electoral Commission, 500,000 registration forms were downloaded from its website before the deadline last Tuesday, while a further 50,000 calls were made to its registration hotline. Some 40 per cent of those interested were aged 18 to 24.