(BAFF, Thursday 25 February 2010). The latest electoral registration statistics for Scotland show another fall in the number of service personnel who are registered as service voters. UPDATE: UK-wide electoral registration statistics now available
Figures released this morning from the General Register Office for Scotland show that only 1,924 service personnel, or their wives, husbands, or civil partners, out of a total electorate of 3,869,700, are registered to vote in UK Parliamentary Elections. This figure compares with 2,043 in 2008, 1,993 in 2007 and 18,226 (sic) in 2000, when eligible personnel could only register as "service voters"; since 2001 they have had the additional option of registering as ordinary voters in the same way as civilians.
Douglas Young, Chairman of the British Armed Forces Federation and author of "Silence in the Ranks", commented that:
"As a Scotsman I have to admit that this figure is, on the face of it, disappointing in a General Election year when we have so many personnel deployed on operations. At 1,924 the number of registered service voters is absolutely tiny in relation to the total number who are eligible to be registered and to vote in Scottish constituencies. It is still an improvement on the figure of 1,576 for the last General Election year, 2005. What no-one knows, because the Ministry of Defence have never carried out a proper survey, is how many people are eligible to register as service voters but have opted to register as ordinary voters instead."
1. We understand that the figures for England and Wales are also about to be released. UK National Statistics publication hub: http://www.statistics.gov.uk/hub/index.html .
2. The report giving statistics on the 2010 Electoral roll for Scotland which came into effect on 1 December 2009 is available at http://www.gro-scotland.gov.uk/statistics/publications-and-data/electoral-statistics/electoral-stats-scot-1st-dec-09.html .