WE are now fast approaching one of the most important electoral events of our lifetime and there’s no doubt the momentum is building.
As the capital of Scotland, Edinburgh is at the country’s constitutional heart and will provide the perfect backdrop for the announcement that will decide the future of our nation. Arrangements are in place to welcome the world’s media to cover this historic occasion and ensure the city is presented in its best possible light.
But before we even begin to think about the result, it’s essential that residents are sure they can actually take part in the poll, by registering to vote by September 2.
We already have more than 360,000 people on the electoral roll in Edinburgh – 87.7 per cent of our 16-plus population – which is excellent, but we know that there are people who have still not registered.
Poll cards have begun to hit the doormats of homes across the city, and if you have not received one I would urge you to check whether you have registered, particularly if you’ve recently moved house.
Those who applied to vote by post before August 8 have started to receive their voting packs, and may have even cast their vote by now. Those who applied after this date will start to receive theirs from September 8.
We’re really geared up for the event, with more than 1300 count and polling station staff being trained ahead of the day.
Our young voters are also preparing to vote for the first time, and have been learning about the process in school or at events held by the Lothian Valuation Joint Board.
But what we don’t want is for anyone to miss out on having their say in this referendum because they’re not registered, or are uncertain of the voting process.
As Counting Officer for Edinburgh, I want everyone to have the opportunity to vote, and the only way they can do this is by making sure they’re on the electoral roll and by filling out their ballot paper correctly, with an “X” in the box next to the answer they choose.
The delivery of the arrangements for the referendum in Edinburgh is my personal responsibility and one that I, and my elections team, take very seriously. It would be a real shame for any of our constituents to miss out over something as straightforward as failing to register to vote. Don’t leave it too late – make sure you are registered by September 2.
Sue Bruce is chief executive of Edinburgh City Council