The future of the UK’s position in Europe is in the hands of a record electorate of 46,499,537, according to provisional figures published on Tuesday by the Electoral Commission.
The body added that the final electorate cannot be confirmed until 9pm on polling day this Thursday, as changes can be made to registers up to then.
However, it published the provisional figure for the UK and Gibraltar following the collection of data from the 382 local voting areas.
The previous record UK electorate for a similar franchise to that which applies in this week’s referendum was the 46,354,197 voters who were registered prior to last year’s general election.
A total of 46,487,579 voters were registered at the European parliamentary elections in 2014, although these elections use a different franchise.
The EU referendum’s franchise is the same as that for UK parliamentary elections, with the addition of citizens of Gibraltar, who can vote in European parliamentary elections.
While the original deadline to register to vote was midnight on Tuesday 7 June, it was extended by an additional 48 hours following the collapse of a government website.
Ministers were forced to make room in the parliamentary programme for emergency legislation that will allow tens of thousands of people to register following the website’s crash, two hours short of the original deadline.
Leave campaigners reacted angrily to the development, claiming the government was trying to skew the result of the referendum by extending the deadline.
This article was written by Ben Quinn, for theguardian.com on Wednesday 22nd June 2016 01.09 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010