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1 in 5 members of the armed forces could lose their vote at the May elections

Published: 29 Mar 2017

The Electoral Commission is reminding UK Service personnel that they need to make sure they are registered to vote before the deadlines in April if they want to take part in the elections on Thursday 4 May.

Figures from the Armed Forces Continuous Attitude Survey reveal that only 80% of the armed forces are registered to vote, and that this drops to only 75% of personnel below officer rank.

Of the personnel who are not registered, 20% said this was because they have “not got around to it”.

Emma Hartley, Head of Campaigns at the Electoral Commission, said:

“The polls on 4 May are an opportunity to have a say on who makes the decisions about vital public services. Whether they’re based in Birmingham or Brunei, there are different voting methods available so that Service personnel can take part in these elections.

“It’s quick, easy and can be done online, just head to gov.uk/register-to-vote. The registration deadline is fast approaching – don’t leave it until it’s too late!”

The registration deadline in England and Wales is midnight on Thursday 13 April. In Scotland, the deadline is midnight on Monday 17 April.

The following elections are taking place in Great Britain on Thursday 4 May:

  • Scottish council elections
  • Local government elections in Wales
  • Local government elections in some areas in England
  • Local authority mayoral elections in some areas in England
  • Combined authority mayoral elections in some areas in England

Service personnel who are based overseas or expected to be posted abroad in the next year can register as a ‘service voter’. This allows members of the armed forces to be registered at a fixed address in the UK while they are serving overseas.

Members of the forces serving overseas are strongly encouraged to apply to vote by proxy (where a trusted person is nominated to vote on behalf of another) but they can also apply to vote by post.

More information on registering and voting as a member of the armed forces can be found on the Commission’s website.


Electoral Commission spokespeople are available for interview.

For further information contact:
Lisa Camps in the Electoral Commission press office on 020 7271 0704 or lcamps@electoralcommission.org.uk
Out of office hours 07789 920 414

Notes to editors

1. The Electoral Commission is the independent body which oversees elections and regulates political finance in the UK. We work to promote public confidence in the democratic process and ensure its integrity by:

  • enabling the delivery of free and fair elections and referendums, focussing on the needs of electors and addressing the changing environment to ensure every vote remains secure and accessible
  • regulating political finance – taking proactive steps to increase transparency, ensure compliance and pursue breaches
  • using our expertise to make and advocate for changes to our democracy, aiming to improve fairness, transparency and efficiency

The Commission was set up in 2000 and reports to the UK and Scottish Parliaments.

2. The deadline for applying to vote by post is 5pm on Tuesday 18 April; for applying to vote by proxy it is 5pm on Tuesday 25 April.

3. Combined authority mayoral elections are taking place in: Cambridgeshire and Peterborough; Greater Manchester; Liverpool City Region; Tees Valley; West Midlands; West of England.

4. Mayoral elections are also taking place in Doncaster and North Tyneside.

5. Voters can find out what elections are taking place in their area by entering their postcode at yourvotematters.co.uk.