The Coalition Government introduced a new Electoral and Administration Bill in the House of Commons in May 2012. The Bill provides for the introduction of individual electoral registration in Great Britain, and a number of changes relating to electoral administration and the conduct of elections.

As we see it, the main benefit to service voters is that the timetable for UK parliamentary elections would be extended from 17 to 25 days.

The Government says that the Bill "will support the participation of overseas and service voters in UK elections and facilitate online registration."

Online registration should in principle make things easier for service voters, if adequate security and verification can be achieved.

The Bill introduces individual registration, a system already used in Northern Ireland.

There is a transitional provision that existing service voter registrations would remain in force after the commencement of the new registration system, until they are due for renewal.

We welcome the fact that there has been no attempt to reduce the MoD's statutory obligations which were introduced by the Electoral Administration Act 2006. At that time the BAFF Steering Group lobbied hard for these improvements through parliamentary contacts.

The Bill was introduced in the House of Commons on 11 May and had its second reading today, 23 May 2012, when passing reference was made to service voters.

You can read the Bill and follow its progress here: