05 Feb 2013
Members of the British armed forces could lose their chance to vote in local elections this year unless they act now, warns the Electoral Commission, the independent elections watchdog.
“Local elections give people the chance to have their say on issues that affect their everyday lives, and those of their families,” explains Samantha Mills, the Electoral Commission’s Head of Campaigns. “We are concerned that every year, thousands of service personnel miss out because they have not registered for a vote in time, or because they don’t realise that they need to update their address details when they move house.”
The Commission is urging service personnel to register now by printing off the form at www.aboutmyvote.co.uk/armedforces. The Commission is joining forces with the Ministry of Defence to raise awareness with an advertising campaign and hundreds of “registration days” being held at units worldwide.
“If you are deployed overseas, you can still vote,” says Mills. “If you have registered, you can ask to vote by post or by proxy – where someone you trust, such as a partner or friend, can cast your vote for you. Your vote is important, we don’t want you to lose it.”
Local government elections will take place in many parts of England this year, including Boston, Colchester, parts of Cambridgeshire, Suffolk, Oxfordshire and Lincolnshire - and also in Anglesey.
For further information contact
Helena Hird on 0207 271 0704
Out of office hours 07789 920414
Notes to editors
- The Electoral Commission is an independent body set up by the UK Parliament. Our aim is integrity and public confidence in the UK’s democratic process. We regulate party and election finance and set standards for well-run elections.
- Photographs to accompany this story are available free of charge to download from www.electoralcommission.org.uk/news-and-media
- The deadline to register to vote is Wednesday 17 April 2013. This is also the last day that personnel can request a postal vote. Local elections will be held on Thursday 2 May 2013.
- Service personnel have two options for registering to vote. Those based in Great Britain can either register in the same way as civilians, by filling in and returning the annual canvass form sent out by their local electoral registration office. Alternatively, service personnel, including those based abroad but eligible to vote in the UK, can register using a special form for service personnel. This means they are registered for a five year period, rather than a single year as they would be if they filled in the conventional annual canvass form. The service voter form can be found at www.aboutmyvote.co.uk/armedforces. Even if service personnel have registered using the service voter registration form, they must update their details (i.e. address, name of proxy) if these change.