SWINDON will be the first town in Britain to adopt completely electronic ballot papers, so people can cast their votes from any polling station in town.

Every Swindon voter will be sent a letter in the next few days explaining how the voting system will be changing for the council elections on May 3.

People turning up at Swindon polling stations will be able to put their cross on a computer screen, rather than a ballot paper.

Voters won't be restricted to polling stations near their home, but will be able to have their say at any one of the town's 65 stations.

Deputy returning officer Alan Winchcombe said: "On polling day you'll be able to go to any polling station you choose.

"You won't be restricted to a particular one.

"You can go to one near your home, or near your work or while you are out shopping or wherever.

"The idea is to make it easier and more convenient for the voters.

"It makes counting votes very, very easy as we won't have lots of pieces of paper to count.

"Other places have used the same technology, but we are the first to use it to this extent and go totally electronic.

"You will just use a simple computer programme to cast your vote and there will be staff on hand to help."

People are also being encouraged to try out internet or telephone voting as new personalised passwords have been introduced to improve security.

"This is the fourth time we have had internet voting in Swindon," said Mr Winchcombe.

"From our research no-one has come across any problems with people having their votes stolen, but this is to make security even more tight.

"If you are going on holiday you don't have to have a postal vote.

"You may be in the south of France or the Scottish Highlands but you can vote as long as you have got your password.

"Everyone chooses their own password and you need to keep that secure and not forget it to be able to vote."

To register to vote on the internet or by telephone visit www.myelection.co.uk/swindon.

Anyone wanting to vote early will also be able to put their X on the computer screen at the town's libraries from April 26.

People concerned about using the new technology can still vote the old-fashioned way, with a pencil and paper, at their registered polling station on May 3.

A leaflet detailing all the different ways you can vote should be delivered to everyone on the electoral register by Thursday.

If you do not receive the leaflet, or for more information on ways to vote, telephone the elections helpline on 01793 463543.