An electoral official who is closely involved in national arrangements for troops voting from Afghanistan, and who has a significant number of service personnel and families in his own local area, has supplied figures on the number of service voters in Afghanistan who registered under the special arrangements and have successfully voted by post in the 2010 General Election.

The figures shown from the BBC quote below do not include registered service voters who did not apply for a postal vote and can vote in person or by proxy, nor does it include service personnel or their spouses or civil partners who have registered as ordinary voters.

One council with a huge job on its hands is Rushmoor Borough Council in Hampshire, which is co-ordinating voting for troops in Afghanistan.

It has been responsible for registering up to 800 serving troops to vote either by proxy or by post.

Despite experiencing some disruption when the volcanic ash cloud from the Icelandic eruption closed UK airspace, Andrew Colver, head of elections, said it had gone well.

He said 260 soldiers had opted for postal voting and the council had so far received and processed 220 ballot papers.

"We may get a few more back but that depends on operational issues and if they have got the ballot papers to send back," he said.