BAFF understands that around 760 service personnel in Afghanistan used the special Op Herrick service voter registration form to register to vote. Of these, some 500 applied for a proxy vote and some 260 applied for a postal vote.
- Of these 260 postal votes, some 220 have been returned using the fast track arrangements, a return rate of 85% which is better than the traditional return rate for postal votes of between 60 and 80%.
- These figures do not include those service personnel in Afghanistan who had already arranged a proxy vote (or even a postal vote, although with less prospect of successfully voting) under their own independent arrangements. We know that a number of BAFF members in Afghanistan did have their proxy vote already in place, as we recommended for everyone in a position to do so.
- The final batch of registration forms was held up in Afghanistan due to the volcanic ash problem, a situation which was proactively overcome by scanning the forms to electoral registration officers in UK. But the volcanic ash problem had no impact on either the outward journey of ballot forms from 27 April, or the return of the completed votes from Afghanistan to UK.
- On these preliminary figures, BAFF Chairman Douglas Young regards the special voting arrangements as a relatively successful one-off effort, within the limitations of existing electoral law, and a genuine improvement compared to voting from Afghanistan and Iraq in the 2005 General Election.
- Reports from other BFPO locations so far are mixed, with praise for BFPO's efforts in some locations and the majority of criticisms we have received to date having concentrated on the shortness of the postal voting timetable.
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