Soldiers (and light/dark blue) Who Cannot Vote

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by MrPVRd, Dec 5, 2004.

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  1. It was easy in the old days. All you did was sign a form to register as a Service voter and vote whenever the opportunity arose.

    Now you have to register annually, and if you are in the sandbox once a year then this makes life a little tricky.

    Therefore soldiers (and the rest) are disenfranchised. How very convenient as most tend to be just slightly right of centre. In Scotland, apparently only 2,000 or so Jocks are registered as voters.

    What can be done to bring pressure to bear on the MoD to rectify this situation? Any thoughts? Perhaps the Electoral Commission may have some clout?

    If the MoD can produce tonnes of such drivel as "Focus" etc, it can get the relevant forms to every man and woman in HM's uniform with clear instructions and a response post service. This is a disgrace.
  2. ViroBono

    ViroBono LE Moderator

    Perhaps 'Your rights and responsibilities as a voter' should be an ITD....
  3. Over the years, i've filled out forms, written letters but all to no avail. My postal vote still gets sent to my first unit which i left in 1993. It tends to catch up with me after about 6 months, by which time bliar is back in the chair :twisted:

  4. To:

    Dear Sir

    As a former Armed Forces Officer I take a keen interest in matters affecting the Armed Forces. I was therefore concerned to read in one newspaper article that the list of Service personnel registered as Service voters had fallen from 18,686 to 2,100.

    The following article from the Manchesteronline website (by David Ottewell) dated 7 June 2004 highlights one such case:

    "Two soldier brothers risking their lives in Iraq will be unable to vote in Thursday's elections after their postal ballots were delivered to their home in Salford. Samuel and Lee Barry have come under mortar attack since flying out to Basra with 1 Battalion Cheshire Regiment in mid-April. But despite being at the sharp end of government policy, they will have no say in the elections - because they didn't register an address abroad before May 13. The Barrys, like all members of the armed forces, have been left to make their own arrangements to vote since a services register was scrapped four years ago. Ministry of Defence (MoD) officials admit the number of soldiers taking part in elections is lower than they would wish. Samuel, 22, and Lee, 21, both made sure they were registered to vote while living at the family home in Camp Street, Salford. Their postal votes duly arrived last Monday. When the boys' mum, Alex Blakeley, phoned the council to try to get them forwarded to Iraq she was told she was too late. A third brother in the forces - 24-year-old John Barry - suffered the same fate and may have to rush home from army training near London if he wants to take part in the election. Alex, 44, said: "I have spoken to Samuel and Lee by email and they are just very angry. They can go out and fight for their country, but then don't get their say. It is not right." Graham Brady, the Conservative MP for Altrincham and Sale West, said: "The MoD has guidelines that says units are meant to remind servicemen (about registering to vote), but in practice I don't think it happens," he told the M.E.N. "It is very worrying and creates the impression that while the government is prepared to ask these people to risk their lives, it does not care enough to make sure they can make a choice about the politicians taking them to war." A spokeswoman for the MoD said: "In the past when someone joined the services they had to fill out at least 100 forms to record themselves as service voters. They elected to vote in their home constituency and nominated a proxy. The new system is much more efficient, offering a wider range of voting options." A spokesman for Salford city council said: "Voters were required to register an overseas address with the council by May 13, according to legislation." Ballot papers in the local and European elections must be posted by tomorrow to ensure they reach town halls by June 10 ."

    One of the key difficulties is that, although there is a Service voter declaration, this is only valid for 12 months and then lapses if not renewed by the voter. The Electoral Registration Officer is obliged to send a reminder and a new application form to the elector between 9 and 10 months from the date on which the entry on the Register took effect. Often the Service voter may be deployed on operations or may have moved unit, as postings to a geographic area can change every 2-5 years.

    I would like to recommend that this matter is taken up formally with the Ministry of Defence and other Government ministries as appropriate. I would also recommend that the Mininstry of Defence fund a "voter registration" campaign to highlight this issue to personnel and to offer assistance, particularly to those who are often serving in dangerous and unpleasant conditions and cannot deal with such matters. It is clearly unacceptable that those who defend democracy are unable to participate in it.

    Yours faithfully

    Mr PVRd
  5. Sent to:

    Dear Sir,

    I feel I am being refused the ability to vote. As I am sure you are aware there is no longer the opportunity to be registered as a service voter. I am hindered rather more than most because I am serving on Full Time Reserve Service (FTRS) and, having followed the service rules & advice, rented out my house.
    The person who rented my house has registered to vote which precludes me doing so in my local area, but as I am overseas I cannot vote at all!
    Would you please raise this issue with the MoD and whatever Government departments you are able, to bring about the situation where I am not disadvantaged for following the rules & serving my country.

  6. What we need is our own candidate to stand in a Marginal Seat. This gentleman or lady would represent all Servicemen. He/She would be running on the ARRSE ticket. We could then get all service voters to register to vote in that constituency. Perhaps we could talk that nice Col Tim Collins or Martin Bell into standing? Just a thought - please feel free to pick holes :)

    Seriously, those who are at the "Sharp end of Government Policy" need a voice - especially at the moment.