Three quarters of service personnel believe that they are registered to vote but according to the latest research, 44% of those are not properly registered after all.
The Daily Telegraph reports that Service personnel who are based abroad, or who have recently changed address, are being encouraged to make sure that they and their families are registered to vote in time for the local government, local mayoral and London Assembly elections on May 3:
Members can arrange to vote in person, post or by proxy, and can either register as an ordinary voter – meaning they have to re-register every year when they receive their canvass form – or as a "service voter", which means they can remain on the electoral register for five years.
According to recent research from the Ministry of Defence (MoD), three in four members of the Armed Forces say they are registered to vote, but the Electoral Commission believes that the proportion who really are may be much smaller.
"We're talking about an incredibly mobile population – people who might be in one area, then get deployed overseas for a month or a year, and forget to update their details," said Rosemary Davenport, speaking for the Commission.
"75 per cent may sound like a lot, but in fact, our research shows that 44 per cent of service personnel who believe they are registered, actually aren't. You have to look at those statistics together."
The Electoral Commission, which runs its annual campaign to encourage Armed Forces members to register to vote in partnership with the MoD, is helping to organise hundreds of registration events at military bases in both the UK and abroad throughout February, at which "registration packs", containing the relevant paperwork, will be available.
These materials can alternatively be downloaded from a dedicated website, www.aboutmyvote.co.uk/armedforces, where members can also search to see if and where they are currently registered.
"Our message to members is go and sign up – and that even if you think you already are registered, to go and double check," said Ms Davenport.
- Source story, by Leah Hyslop, Daily Telegraph - Reminder for Armed Forces that voting registration deadline looms
- Aboutmyvote.co.uk - Member of the Armed Forces (or husband, wife, civil partner)
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