Enhanced postal voting arrangements from Afghanistan
BAFF representation in Service Voting Working Group
(11 March 2010) The three Service Family Federations and the British Armed Forces Federation are represented in a Minister-led Service Voter Working Group, along with the Ministry of Justice and MoD and the Electoral Commission. The following update is provided courtesy of the Naval Families Federation:
If you are currently serving or likely to be serving in Afghanistan at the time of the General Election (date TBN), you will be interested to know that a Minister-led Working Group has been established to consider ways of enhancing your ability to participate in the elections. Members of the Working Group include the Families Federations, MoD officials, Ministry of Justice and Electoral Commission officials. The main concerns were that postal voting often precludes personnel serving overseas from getting their votes in on time owing to the short (11-day) window to get forms to and from theatre. Proxy voting is an alternative but is not considered appropriate by some. The Working Group has therefore been looking at ways of delivering an enhanced service for all personnel deployed to Afghanistan to be able to register and vote in the coming General Election. The system will use the Air Bridge to get registration and then ballot papers to and from theatre and information about this new process is currently being cascaded via the chain of command in theatre. We will carry further information on our website as soon as it is available. It should be stressed that the postal voting process is subject to operational requirements and therefore cannot be guaranteed, however personnel deployed to Afghanistan will still be able to vote by proxy if they wish.
For those reading this in other overseas locations who are still faced with the challenges of the postal system, rest assured we have not forgotten you! The Working Group is also looking at ways of enhancing your ability to participate in elections but as the options being considered may involve changes to primary legislation, this will take some time to deliver. In the interim, people keen to vote in the forthcoming election who fear the postal system may not be fast enough to register their vote are encouraged to consider nominating a proxy to vote on their behalf.
If you haven’t yet registered to vote please visit www.aboutmyvote.co.uk [if you intend by post from Afghanistan, you should use the special registration form now being distributed through units].
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