People are being urged to register to vote in the general election ahead of the deadline at midnight tonight. Anyone who submits an application after this cut-off will not be able to have their say on 7 May.

According to the Electoral Commission there have been more than 1.7 million applications to register to vote in the past five weeks, with almost 470,000 online applications coming from 16 to 24-year-olds.

But its research also suggests there may be as many as 7.5 million unregistered voters.

Earlier this month teamed up with the Electoral Commission to encourage as many people as possible to register to vote as its research indicated that only 40% of those who've moved home recently may have done so. See the Recent home movers need to register to vote MSE News story.

Further, at the time only 63% of those who rent privately were registered to vote, compared to 94% of those who own their own homes. Previous research by the Commission also suggests that 44% of those not registered to vote mistakenly believe that they are.

But it's not just being able to vote that being on your electoral register is vital for, it may also boost your chances of getting credit, as lenders can use the roll to check out potential borrowers. See our Credit Scores guide for more on this and other tips on how to boost your score.

How do I register?

You can check if you're registered to vote, which means you must be on the electoral register, by getting in touch with your local authority. Just enter your postcode on to find your local electoral registration office and contact it directly.

If it transpires you're not on the electoral roll, to register to vote in England, Scotland and Wales – visit by midnight tonight (20 April). To register in Northern Ireland, also visit the Electoral Office for Northern Ireland website by midnight tonight (20 April).

Registering online takes about five minutes.

Alternatively you can download a form to return the paper application in person to your local electoral registration office before the deadline.

'This is your last chance to register to vote'

Jenny Watson, Electoral Commission chairwoman, says: "This is your last chance to register to vote if you want to make your voice heard on 7 May. It takes just a few minutes to apply to register online, so do it now.

"We don't want anyone to miss out, but if you miss the deadline on 20 April and then try to vote you will be turned away from the polling station on election day. Make sure this doesn't happen to you."