The House of Commons has confirmed that parish and town council elections will go ahead on 5th May 2011, even if this is the date for the Alternative Vote referendum.
The doubt about this was caused by the Association of Electoral Administrators who claimed that it was neither possible nor desirable to combine the referendum on the same day as other elections. However, the law only bars parish and community council elections from being held on the same day as a general election when this is the same day as principal council elections somewhere in the UK. This bar doesn’t apply to being on the same day as a referendum.
The Electoral Commission has also clarified that they are happy to have the referendum on the same day as other elections (this was proposed to increase turnout) saying:
“On balance, we believe that it should be possible to deliver the different polls proposed for 5 May 2011 if the key practical risks to the successful conduct of the scheduled elections and a UK-wide referendum are properly managed.”
You can find out more about the regulation of the referendum as well as information on combining it with other polls from House of Commons Standard Note SN/PC/05142. There are also campaign materials available for the Yes to Fairer Votes campaign to use in your Focus.