Running electoral registration - Scotland

HM forces service voters

HM forces service voters

A member of HM forces and their spouse or civil partner may register as a service voter, although they may choose in certain circumstances to make a registration application as an ordinary elector instead.1

A member of HM forces is a person serving on full pay the naval, military or air forces of the Crown raised in the UK.

A person who is under 18 years old and living with a parent or guardian who is a service voter is also eligible to register as a service voter at local government and Scottish Parliamentary elections.2 They must be living in Scotland or would be living in Scotland if their parent or guardian were not based overseas.

The following do not qualify as an HM forces service voter:3

  • persons serving only as a member of a reserve or auxiliary force (except those serving during a period of emergency)
  • members of the regular army required, by the terms of their service, to serve in Northern Ireland only

When a person is not qualified to be a service voter for one of the reasons listed above, and is away from a UK address at which they have been residing, they can still be deemed to be resident there. They may therefore be registered as an ordinary elector if outside the UK on duty.4

Service Unit Registration Officers

Each unit has designated one member of staff to be a Unit Registration Officer (URO) and each base commander has been asked to give assistance to the URO and other personnel in their unit to promote participation in the electoral process. A Unit could be a base, ship, depot, barracks etc.

The responsibilities of the URO include providing information to service personnel and their families and acting as a liaison between the unit and local EROs.

Where you have any military establishments in your area you should make contact with the UROs. If any problems occur with the registration of service personnel you should raise these issues with the URO of the unit in the first instance. It should now be possible for you to contact a URO in any location, including overseas. To ascertain who the URO is for any particular unit, the Ministry of Defence recommends contacting the unit directly, initially through directory enquiries, and then asking for information about the URO from:

  • Royal Navy – First Lieutenant’s office
  • Army – Adjutant’s office
  • RAF – OC PSF (Officer Commanding Personnel Services Flight)

Registration of HM forces service voters who are qualifying Commonwealth citizens

A service declaration must state the address where the applicant is living in the UK or, if they are living abroad because of their service, where they would have been living in the UK but for their service abroad. If they cannot give such an address, they must give an address at which they have lived in the UK.5

Qualifying foreign nationals who have been recruited to the services in their country of origin or outside the UK without previously being resident in the UK, but who receive their training in the UK and are then immediately posted overseas may register at:

  • the address of the barracks where they were enlisted and/or did their training
  • a barracks where they were or would be resident if they were not posted abroad
  • their regimental headquarters where they may have been resident
  • an address in the UK where they would be resident were they no longer in the forces or not required to be resident in barracks, such as a relative’s address
Last updated: 11 August 2021