Brian Wilson MLA says that the announcement by the BBC that the referendum on the alternative vote system will be held on the 5 May 2011 means that the Chief Electoral Officer for Northern Ireland must look again at the date for the Northern Ireland Assembly elections.
At present the local government elections and the Assembly elections are pencilled in for that date. We cannot have 3 different elections with different voting systems on the same day. It would lead to confusion and voters would be expected to place ballots in three separate ballot boxes.
It is also likely that the media would concentrate on one of the polls and the others, probably local government elections, would be ignored. There is also a question whether the Chief Electoral Officer has the resources to conduct three elections on the one day.
If the BBC report is correct it is essential that we review the date of the Assembly and local government elections.