THE country is heading for a record turnout on September 18, with demand to register to vote in the independence referendum far outstripping that of all previous General Elections and other polls.

Polling cards have started going out to all registered voters, which as of August 1 meant a record high of 4,166,683 Scottish voters.

The Chief Counting Office for the Scottish Independence Referendum, Mary Pitcaithly, is urging those who are eligible to make sure they can participate in the referendum by ensuring they are registered to vote.

Mary Pitcaithly said: "Only people who are registered to vote and are aged 16 or over on the day of the referendum will be entitled to vote, so it is vital that those who want to take part ensure their details are on the electoral register.

"It may be worth taking the time to check your details are on the register and that they are up to date, particularly if you've changed address in recent months."

Changes in the way the register is refreshed, a shift from December to March, changed the dynamic of a constantly evolving list which was then tested with the European Elections in May.

So-called "attainers" - youngsters due to come of voting age - were already accounted for among 17-18 year-olds so only the relatively small number of those aged 16 had to be targeted.

Ian Milton of Aberdeenshire who chairs the group of 15 officers across the countrysaid: "We need to get this across: ability to vote on the day is as important as registration. People who might be called away or offshore to work, students offered clearing for a new university, armed forces suddenly posted abroad - these are the kinds of things that can happen and you should have a proxy or postal vote.

"My message isn't are you registered to vote, most people get that, but where will you be on the day?"