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Are you registered to vote? Annual registration drive gets under way

If you have a residential address in the UK, your household should have received recently, or be about to receive, an annual Voter Registration Form.

The form is part of the "Annual Canvass" - an annual check on who is entitled to vote at each address.

Whoever the form is addressed to is required by law to check it, make any alterations, sign and date it and return it to the local authority's Electoral Registration Officer (ERO). You can also indicate any voters who wish a postal vote.

There should be a prepaid envelope enclosed for you to return the form to the ERO. If there are no changes to the pre-printed form, some Councils have made it possible for you to reply by other means, such as a Freephone call or SMS text.

Follow the directions on the form. If in doubt consult your unit Registration Officer or the local authority ERO who issued the form. If there are difficulties BAFF members are welcome to consult BAFF.

If you are in Scotland and have 15 year olds in the home

Those people in the home who are already 16 or older should be listed in the main form, so add their names and date of birth etc in the main form if their names are not alredy pre-printed there.

Households in Scotland should also receive a second form headed "Young Voter Registration Form / for the Referendum on Scottish Independence".

The second form must be completed and returned if there are any 15 year olds living at the property who will be 18 by 18 September 2014, or if the form contains any incorrect pre-printed information.

If you would be in Scotland but are posted somewhere else with the armed forces

Armed forces personnel and their wives, husbands and civil partners have the choice of registering either as ordinary voters at the address where they are normally living, or as service voters. Service voters are entitled to vote in the constituency where they would be living if the armed forces member was not serving.

The Ministry of Defence is likely to conduct its own voter registration drive later, but you don't have to wait if you are entitled to register as a service voter.

Generally speaking it isn't an offence to be on more than one electoral register at the same time, as long as there is no fraud involved and no attempt is made to vote more than once in the same election, referendum etc.

Young people resident with a service voter

As  a result of a recent change to the draft legislation, it is likely that young people living with a Scottish service voter outside Scotland WILL be able to vote in the Scottish referendum if they are 16 or 17 on Referendum Day.

It appears that those over 18, however, will only be able to register as ordinary voters in the local constituency where they are resident in England, Wales or Northern Ireland. If resident with a service parent posted overseas, they can register as overseas voters and will therefore be entitled to vote in any UK parliamentary election, but not in the Scottish Independence referendum.

Official information should be available on these points once the draft legislation has been passed by the Scottish Parliament.

This information in this article represents our understanding of the current general position and should not be regarded as an official guide, nor is it intended to cover all individual circumstances.

 

 

Tags: Armed forces voters - Service voters

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