In order to vote in the forthcoming UK local and devolved government elections and the referendum on changing the voting system for electing MPs to the UK Parliament (plans for the Alternative Vote system) all scheduled for 5 May 2011, you must be registered to vote.The deadline for all new registrations and changes to existing details is 14 April 2011.
- The MOD, Cabinet Office and the Electoral Commission, the independent elections watchdog, encourage all Service personnel to register to vote.
- Individuals may choose to register to vote in one of three ways;
> As a Service Voter: This option is open to all personnel (including spouses or civil partners) but particularly suitable for personnel posted overseas or likely to be posted abroad in the near future. Following the introduction of The Service Voters’ Registration Period Order 2010, Service Registration now lasts for five years. Those who register as Ordinary Voters or Overseas Voters will still have to renew their registration every year.
> As an Ordinary Voter: Personnel based in the UK can register in the same way as ordinary electors by filling in and returning the annual canvass registration form. Ordinary voters need to re-register annually.
> As an Overseas Voter, although registering as a Service Voter is the recommended option.
- Service personnel and their spouses/civil partners who are overseas or away from their UK residence during an election may elect to vote either by post or proxy, whether they have chosen to register as Ordinary, Service or Overseas Voters. Voting by proxy is still the best option for those serving overseas.
- For the 5 May elections a similar initiative to that which ran for the elections in 2010 will be put in place to support the participation in voting for Service Personnel in Afghanistan.
- Although Service voters only now need to renew their registration every 5 years, it is essential that Service Voters inform the Electoral Registration Office (ERO) of any changes to their current address which occur during the period of registration (for instance, when deployed). If not, the reminder from the ERO will be sent to the wrong address. Note that registration is based on UK residence, if you move service address then you do not need to re-register to remain registered in the same constituency, but should keep your ERO up to date with any changes to UK residency address to ensure reminders are sent to the correct address.
Most of this info is taken from Defence Internal Brief 2011DIB/12 dated 7 March 2011, which contains fuller details and is available through your unit.
Logged-in registered BAFF Members or Supporters can obtain a copy of the DIB here:
The DIB is aimed at Regular Service Personnel. Mobilised reserve forces personnel can consult their Unit Registration Officers. Our suggestion, as for regular personnel posted overseas, is that they should consider using a proxy vote if at all possible.