(6 May 2010) The Lancashire Post has a story 'Troops to have say electronically' which is widely understood to mean that British troops in Afghanistan have been given the chance to vote electronically in today's General Election. We do not believe that such a thing has happened, however. We think the story is prompted by the fact that the final batch of specially-adapted service voter registration forms (which incorporate postal or proxy voting applications) were delayed in Afghanistan due to the volcanic dust cloud and that the Ministry of Defence, acting in consultation with the Ministry of Justice, Electoral Commission and local electoral officials, arranged for these registration forms to be transmitted electronically to electoral registration offices across the country.
It was always clear that there was no guarantee of successful postal voting from Afghanistan, particularly from the more forward or remote locations. The volcanic ash problem should, on the face of it, have had little or no effect on the forwarding of the actual postal voting packs to Afghanistan or the return of completed ballots via an airfield in Southern England. At this stage BAFF has mixed, unconfirmed reports of the success or otherwise of the special voting operation.