Service personnel encouraged to register to vote

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Service personnel and their families are being encouraged to register to vote in this year's upcoming elections.

There are many local government elections taking place up and down the country on 3 May 2012, including the London Assembly and mayoral elections, and Service personnel and their families are being encouraged to register to vote now.

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 is particularly suitable for personnel posted overseas or likely to be posted abroad in the near future. Service Registration currently lasts for five years.

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.

Ships, units and stations should give Service personnel and their families assistance to register as voters, through Unit Registration Officers.

Many Service units are also holding a ‘Registration Day’. Registration Days are used to inform personnel about the need to register to vote and ensure personnel are clear on what they need to do to achieve it.

Registration Days are organised by the Unit Registration Officer - a person who has been appointed in each unit to provide information and advice on electoral registration to the Service personnel and families in his or her unit.

At the Service Voter Registration Day held in MOD’s Main Building today, 21 February 2012, the Armed Forces Minister Nick Harvey said:

I understand that exercising the right to vote for Service personnel can prove more difficult than for other members of society, particularly the challenges presented by Service mobility and the high proportion of young personnel in our Armed Forces.

I hope that events like today’s Electoral Registration Day will ensure our Armed Forces and their families are better informed about the registration and voting options available to them.

Similar events are being held this month in military bases across the UK and overseas as part of a broad campaign to provide our personnel with help in registering their vote.

With many local government elections taking place across the country on 3 May, it is important that they are also able to have their say.