Forces Voting Rights

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by Tastytoggle, Nov 9, 2009.

Welcome to the Army Rumour Service, ARRSE

The UK's largest and busiest UNofficial military website.

The heart of the site is the forum area, including:

  1. Recently I wrote the following letter which was published in the Shropshire Star:
    Soldiers don't ordinarily do politics, but it's abundantly clear now that having committed our forces to two major overseas conflicts, the government wilfully ignored military advice and wittingly neglected their medical, equipment, helicopters and troop reinforcement needs. Many a funeral cortege through Wootton Bassett might have been avoided, but for this wicked recklessness. There has never been a better argument for the radical simplification of voting procedures for the armed forces and their dependants. We've had quite enough flannel about how things are fine when actually, they're far from it. The fact is, that the ability of service personnel to register their votes is seriously impeded by bureaucracy. Equality and diversity legislation ensures that other sections of society receive fair consideration of their needs, so must our troops. Their special role, the sacrifices expected of them and the nomadic lifestyle imposed upon them by operational requirements should entitle them to special voting arrangements and the unique privilige of being able to vote for any party or candidate, in any ward they choose, anywhere in the UK. The ramifications of that would be considerable and would make any future government think twice before sending our forces to war.

    Today, the Independent published an article which reported that Lib Dem peer, Lord Roberts was raising the issue of the Government's scandalous failure to help the Forces exercise their democratic right to vote after it emerged that about 60,000 or one third are unregistered.

    Mithering your MP about this issue is dead easy. Google him or her and send an e mail or a bluey demanding better voting priviliges. Get your friends and family to do it too. You deserve easier voting rights, but you have to fight for them and it won't half put the frighteners on Westminster!
     
  2. So why should the Forces have "special" rights? Sorry, but it's very easy to register your proxy vote in the place you come from. Just because many members of the Forces are apathetic and don't bother to do so is not a beaurocratic problem. I registered as a proxy voter in the whole of my 30 years. Expats abroad are not allowed to vote in any ward they want to and are limited to the ward they or their family lived in. When they go back to UK they register as a voter in the area they live.
    Sorry, but just can't see the problem and see not reason why the Forces should be classed as a special case. Simply register your proxy vote and follow the same rules as everyone else.
     
  3. That is all very well, exbleep, but not every service person has someone conveniently situated in the constituency in which they are registered to vote, who could act as proxy. I am registered for a postal vote. While I was serving overseas, it usually arrived too late for me to get it back in time for election day.

    Furthermore, what provision is made for those who are on deployment to cast their vote? I will almost certainly be deployed during the next general election and I am considering making a bit of a stink to ensure I get my vote. If I cannot rely on my postal vote arriving on time, what am I supposed to do?
     
  4. Fine for those who have someone who

    1. Is in the constituency concerned or can organise a postal vote
    2. Who they dont mind knowing their voting decision
    3. They can trust to carry out their voting decision, and
    4. They can trust to actually vote and is capable of doing so.


    Do our troops mark the 'X'?


    British Armed Forces Federation
     
  5. [quote="hackle"
    Fine for those who have someone who

    1.....can organise a postal vote
    [/quote] Surely everyone can register for a postal vote? Booty raises a more pertinent issue but I must say that, when I have used them, I have never received my form too late to vote.

    Booty, have you spoken to your local ERO about this, if so what was the response?

    IMD
     
  6. Surely everyone can register for a postal vote? Booty raises a more pertinent issue but I must say that, when I have used them, I have never received my form too late to vote.

    Booty, have you spoken to your local ERO about this, if so what was the response?

    IMD[/quote]

    Where were you serving at the time when you used a postal vote?

    In the 2005 General Election, many would-be postal voters with BFPO addresses did not receive their ballot papers in time, even voters in Northern Ireland. What chance do you think people have of succesfully using a postal vote from Afghanistan?


    PS @ IMD. You may have misunderstood what I said about having someone who is in the constituency or can organise a postal vote. I was not advocating a postal vote as a reasonable alternative for a deployed voter. I was referring to the fact that your proxy, if you appoint one, must themselves be in a position to vote and this requires that they either get themselves to the polling station or can organise a postal vote in order to vote on your behalf.
     
  7. Where were you serving at the time when you used a postal vote?

    In the 2005 General Election, many would-be postal voters with BFPO addresses did not receive their ballot papers in time, even voters in Northern Ireland. What chance do you think people have of succesfully using a postal vote from Afghanistan?[/quote]

    It wasn't just BFPO address's. I was serving in the UK and got my postal vote on the day of the election. NFC of getting it back to where it needed to be at all. I have voiced concern over this when I registered (again!) for a postal vote and was informed that the form would not be sent out from Scotland until 3 days before the election. I am now serving in Germany and that doesn't inspire me with a huge amount of confidence.

    Thinking cynically, the current government know we don't vote labour (on the whole) and don't give a shi*t!!!
     
  8. I'm with Booty. I never got my postal vote in time to use it. It's a c*** system. On the other hand, an EU student who lives on a University campus in the UK will have the option to vote in the General Election and will receive a probably receive a postal voting envelope which he will generally chuck in a waste bin where it can be picked up and used by any passing politico. I've seen this happen in local council elections at a University of Wolverhampton campus. I say again, the voting procedures for the armed forces must be radically simplified and hell yes, they SHOULD receive special privileges.
     
  9. Agreed on postal voting difficulty for those voting from overseas. As a matter of interest, a EU citizen living in UK can as you say vote in local council elections - but NOT in the General Election or other UK parliamentary elections unless they are citizens of Ireland, Cyprus or Malta.
     
  10. I didn't know that. It's mad that EU students who might live in an electoral ward for as little as 10 months of a year, during which there's a local election, can potentially help to inflict a particular councillor upon permanent residents for up to five years. The council in question used an outdated list in the first instance to send out 500+ information leaflets and postal voting slips with pre-paid envelopes. They then rectified their error and most were discarded in a single waste bin near to the postal collection point where anyone could have gathered them up and submitted them fraudulently. If, in the interests of democracy, local councils are encouraged to waste money and flirt with potential abuses, then I believe absolutely that our forces should be at the top of the pecking order when it comes to having the opportunity to vote, but the reality is, that without very significant changes to radically simplify things for them, they will always be at the bottom - and that isn't good enough. They have long been treated as third class citizens, now is the time to push for change and voting rights are key to achieving a better deal for them. Shit! I sound like a bloody trade unionist!
     
  11. I_m_d

    I was in Cyprus at the time. It is not always something the ERO has control over. The ERO cannot issue postal ballots until the close of nominations, which for a Parliamentary election is 17 working days before election day. That is not long to get postal votes out and back. The registration system has improved, in that, under the old system, you could often miss the registration deadline, owing to a posting. I really do not believe this is any sort of Labour conspiracy, as the system under the Tories was even more cumbersome.

    I think there needs to be provision for some form of online voting for those serving overseas and definitely for those on deployment. As a service person (especially as a service person!) your ability to vote should be absolutely guaranteed, wherever you are. Otherwise, what the hell are we fighting for?