Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by hackle, Apr 17, 2005.

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  1. After 5th May, it will be a case of "TF for that" and "normal ARRSE service will now resume".

    But not quite the end of the OP STEEL VOTE story...

    We haven't done half bad. For a bunch of supposedly thick soldiers, ex-soldiers and assorted porridge wogs :wink: , we have managed to get our heads round the electoral procedures and legislation, and put together the best set of information available for forces voters.

    We were the ones who spotted the problems with some Council websites, the MoD website, Queen's Regulations ... the list goes on.

    The Electoral Commission leaflet, the late delivery of which led to the recent headlines, was first published right here on ARRSE. Those headlines would never have appeared but for ARRSE serving members tracking the late appearance of the leaflets.

    We know for sure that our information helped and encouraged individuals to register. We are still working to help and encourage everyone to use their vote.

    Against the trend of general voter apathy, especially amongst the under-25s, we have STARTED to raise the profile of democratic participation within the HM Forces community.

    And with the help of the media and those politicians who have been working hard on these issues, we managed at last to grab the attention of HM Government and official bodies.

    So what can we do to exploit the work we have already done, after the General Election excitement :roll: is over?

    Some members have already expressed an interest in putting together something to go to the Electoral Commission after the Election. It shouldn’t take anything like the amount of work we have put into this already.

    As with this whole campaign so far, we’d really appreciate views and suggestions from other members. To get things going, the way I see it there are basically three areas to think about:

    1. Registration arrangements for HM Forces.

    2. Voting arrangements for the Forces.

    3. Education and information within the Forces. For example, is enough being done to encourage recruits to register to vote, and then stay registered? Are forces personnel being culturally discouraged from democratic participation, due to a misunderstanding of the constitutional separation of the British Forces from party politics?
  2. Great job Hackle et al. Re your request for suggestions, why can't the MoD use each serviceman's unique service number as a password for secure internet voting? That would eliminate the need for postal or proxy votes for the majority deployed overseas. It's not rocket science, internet facilities are available even in Iraq(I've used them) and it's probably less open to abuse if administered properly than postal ballots.
  3. Can't see regimental numbers as being secure, postal vosting is open to fraud. This would allow even greater opoortunity for fraud if someone or some party :roll: knew the regimental numbers

    Also as we do not operate on a system of proportional representation, for who and what constituency would service voters vote? Their home town? Their RHQ area? In the UK no problem but what about Germany and Cyprus?
  4. Thanks, dui-lai and claymore

    IMO you have both encapsulated several of the key issues in a few words.

    Isnt ARRSE wonderful! Good effort guys.

    Any more comments? I will come back later in the day with a fuller response.

  5. One of the old and bold informs me that battalions provided ballot boxes for the Euro referendum in the '70s. Admittedly, it would be more complicated to organise votes by constituency. But not impossible. If soldiers were registered with the RAO for either their home or garrison constituency, their votes could be recorded accordingly. It would hardly be open to Brum-style abuse. Unless you're serving in the Rajput Rifles, Dui Lai. :wink: I can't see some renegade platoon sergeant demanding his men's votes en bloc, somehow.
  6. I beg to differ. Whilst the number itself is not secure once you back it up with a couple of questions from their records (NOK address and DOB etc) it becomes highly usable, and the best thing is that all of the current info is already on record in digital format.

    Tip: Your regt number is one of the best passwords you have for websites and logons, use it.
  7. Fascinating, claymore, I will look into that. It would certainly have been easier to do this for the 1975 European referendum, being a single national vote. If that happened, it would be a very useful precedent for the military system getting appropriately involved in the voting process. Another precedent being the 1945 election; I have not tracked down any info on voting arrangements for troops overseas in General Elections in the 1950s.

    PS If anyone has any more info or recollections ref forces voting in the 1975 European Referendum or General Elections in the 50s and 60s, please let me know.
  8. I am certainly interested in putting something together for the Electoral Commission. Parliamentary committees also take evidence from 'the people', so there exists the possibility of providing information to the Defence Sub-Committee and/or the Electoral Commission Sub-Committee.

    Having read recently of presentations given to soldiers, by ex-soldiers, on the subject of testicular cancer, I see no reason why presentations should not be provided on the subject of voting.
  9. Thanks VB. I agree about submissions going to several bodies. Presumably if we are ever invited to give oral evidence we will have to wear Lone Ranger type masks :wink:

    Also strongly agree about appropriate presentations in future, within the military system, about democratic participation. Of course there are potential pitfalls, which could however easily be avoided with a properly thought-out format.

    I will give an example later of how our American allies put much much more effort into registration and voter education and assistance within their armed forces.
  10. tgarden

    tgarden RIP


    Congratulations on starting this thread. We certainly need to galvanise the Electoral Commission after the election, so that some benefit comes from the chaos of this election. I know that they will be receptive to proposals on secure internet voting.

    I have one other issue to raise, and that is whether the current regulations mean that some service personnel and their familes (if they are behind the wire) miss opportunities to judge their candidates and the merits of the parties. Rather than banning canvassing, perhaps each unit should have an obligation to host a hustings meeting. That would certainly ensure that the candidates boned up on service issues. We will be dealing with the new armed forces bill in the next parliamentary session, which will bring together all 3 sets of QRs. That may be an opportunity to rethink the approach.
  11. Ld T

    V many thanks. Your support and advice will be of the greatest help.

    The point about QRs and hustings in barracks is well made. (edit: And I noticed that you mentioned this in excellent radio interview.) As it happens, I had been discussing this with one of the parliamentary candidates and I will maybe ask him to give some input after the Election. As ever, input and support from ANY party much appreciated.

  12. An excellent thread and, once again, it is a shame that it is down to a few concerned and highly effective campaigners (Hackle and Lord T we salute you!) rather than the MOD that this matter is once more being raised.

    At the very least:

    1. There must be an investigation (HCDC lead with Electoral Commission?) into the issue of Service voting in the UK and OOA, past present, and in the future. The Service community has a number of key issues not faced by the general public as we all know - out-of-area detachments and postings as well as frequent moves in the UK. Special measures were required, were in place and were rescinded witout due thought to the consequences. A HCDC investigation would have some independence from a government-rigged inquiry (thanks to recent legislation) based on past performance into pensions etc.

    2. Clear procedures and guidance must be in place to allow the Service community (including dependents) to vote in a timely and informed manner that makes due regard to the exigencies of Service life. The soldier in the field must be able to vote as easily as the voter in the UK (eg Labour lard-arrse postal voter or fraudulent councillor) in all events short of actual warfare, bearing in mind the 24 hour and austere nature of deployed operations. For example, 1BW should have been able to vote in this manner during their deployment last Nov/Dec, despite the high operational tempo, in the event of an election at that time. If a formation can handle bulk quantities of protectively-marked material in the printed and electronic formats, it can handle a voting procedure with built-in contingencies for operations. In the digitisation age there is no excuse!

    3. The CO of an establishment or unit within the UK and overseas must have a clear direction to allow his/her subordinates to make themselves aware of party manifestos and policies. This could be controversial - for example the BNP or Sinn Fein are part of the electoral process, no matter how repugnant their policies - and would have to be sensitively and impartially implemented. Hustings in the UK and the use of BFBS overseas may be appropriate.

    That's all I can think of for now!

    This disgrace must never be repeated.

    Oh, one other thing - parties must be compelled to use ARRSE-manipulated versions of their publicity material! :twisted:
  13. :lol: :lol: :lol: We now have a team of briefs working on the draft legislation :wink:

    All excellent points from MrPVRd and others. I will try to pick up everybody's comments on "in-theatre voting" tonight. Oh, and those "alternative election posters" are getting even better - or worse, depending on your point of view.
  14. For the 1975 Euro Referendum I was part of a 5 man team on an island in the South China Seas and a Chopper was flown from Singapore via Malaya to us with the sole purpose of signing of the forms. Lots of tax payer's money used! Goverment of the day wanted us to say yes so no expenses spared! To my dying day I will regret having voted for it..........but come the next referendum..................
  15. Thanks exile1, so that does seem to be a precedent for voting in theatre.

    European Referendum Act 1975, poll on 5 June 1975.

    May be wrong but my recollection is that to vote in the Scottish and Welsh devolution referendums of 11 and 18 Sep 1997 you had to be actually resident in Scotland or Wales, not merely be on the electoral register.* Thus neatly disenfranchising most forces voters. Referendums (Scotland and Wales) Act 1997.

    * Correct. Those entitled to vote in the referendum were those who, on the date of the referendum, were entitled to vote as electors at a local government election in any electoral area in Scotland/Wales. Service voters who were registered to vote in parliamentary elections in Scotland, but were not resident in Scotland at the time, were thus excluded from the referendum. Lords Hansard debate 3 Jul 1997