Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by hackle, Jan 25, 2005.

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  1. Welcome to the unofficial British Army Rumour Service's voter information pages.

    Edit # 26: ;)

    Info about electoral registration and voting in the 2010 General Election starts at this link:

    Service Voting - OP STEEL VOTE 2010
  2. Some useful links:

    [superseded - deleted 2007]
  3. Link to Army Families Federation page on MOD website, containing link to the December edition of the Journal:

    As ever, the Journal is an excellent read, including an interview with General Jackson.

    However, it's a 40-page illustrated pdf document, not much use for anyone trying to read Rachael Troughton's article on a welfare computer, so I hope the AFF will have no objection to my posting extracts from the article later on.

    We do believe that with all the information and assistance available (on the web, in the DCI, from Electoral Registration Officers and from your Regimental/Station Admin Office) most unregistered Armed Forces members and partners should find it straightforward to register now.

    - either as "ordinary voters" or as "service voters"; also choosing whether to vote at the polling station, by post or by proxy.

    We don't believe that either the registration system or the voting arrangements allow sufficiently for the real-life circumstances of the Armed Forces, especially with current commitments. That is why campaigners are calling for sensible improvements to the system, as well as maximum effort on making the present arrangements work.

    In theory, the requirement since 2001 to re-register annually is the same for service personnel as for any civilian voters. Re-registration for ordinary voters is a straightforward matter of signing and returning a simple form which is sent out annually. In practice, if the form is not returned in due time, ordinary voters are thought much more likely than service voters to have their names kept on the electoral register. Also, some Councils offer freefone and on-line re-registration - which is not available to registered "service voters".

    Let us know of any problems.
  5. Please do not infer from this post that there is a legal option of NOT registering to vote. "You are required by law to register to vote, even if you do not intend to vote."

    One of the reasons often stated for not registering is the thought that "my name and address being on the electoral register could compromise my personal security".

    Realistically, for most individuals this should be far less of a concern than it could have been in years gone by.

    It is also important to understand that there are now two versions of the electoral register:

    Note that the opt-out from the "edited register" is available both to:
    • "service voters" (including partners);

      and Armed Forces members/partners who register as "ordinary voters".
    In appropriate cases, some Electoral Registration Officers are willing to accept "anonymous" registration. (Various ways of electors' names being disguised or hidden within the "full register".) If the concern about registering is security-related, I would definitely take military advice first.

    The credit-referencing "advantage" of registration will help you best if your credit application is from the same address as the one on the electoral register. For mail order etc, if no credit is involved, you probably need to be on the edited register before the mail order company can helpfully flash up your details.

    Some may be concerned that registration could make it easier for creditors, ex-partners etc to catch up with them. In principle this should not be a problem if you opt out from the "edited register". In any case, if they know you are in the Forces, they have other ways of getting in touch!

    As with all such information posted in good faith, none of this is "advice". Serving personnel who have security-related questions should obviously consult within the system as appropriate, and make their own decisions accordingly.

    Any comments/questions/corrections to me please: PM me or:
  6. Link to a post in the separate 'discussion' thread, stressing the urgency of registering to vote, in view of speculation about a General Election thought most likely in May but possibly as soon as early March:

    Also includes some suggestions for 'getting the message out', but there is already enough information in this thread for those not already registered to go ahead and register now.

    best regards

  7. Link to a useful page on the RAFCOM website (RAF Community Support):

    Includes some RAF-specific info:
    Personnel Service Flight (PSF) should maintain a list of EROs and addresses.
    Some unit PSF staff may hold a stock of relevant forms.

    Otherwise, the information supplied by RAFCOM is relevant to all, including this on your choice of voting methods:
    Comment: Good for RAFCOM! Any reason why the Army hasn't done the same? (RN/RM Families Support has some info for partners.) Out of interest, anyone seen anything in Brigade/Garrison families information/welcome literature?
  8. A quick point but worth making:

    As well known, voting in UK elections has always been available to citizens of the Republic of Ireland. (Eire)

    This also applies to all resident in UK who are citizens of any Commonwealth country.

    If you are in touch with members of the Armed Forces who are citizens of the ROI;
    or Fiji, or any other Commonwealth country;
    please do what you can to ensure they do not miss out by default on their legal right to vote.

    All who are serving our country deserve the opportunity to vote, if they wish. None of them should feel constrained from voting because they are not British citizens, have arrived fairly recently, or happen to have kept a family home back in their country of origin. Residence is a matter for the electoral registration officer, but we believe that a genuine address in a UK barracks should be sufficient, even if the individual is currently deployed on operations.

    Please report any problems - Fijian personnel in Germany-based units?
    Nepalese citizens unfortunately not included.

    This from the excellent About My Vote website (link already posted):

    So far, these notes have concentrated more on electoral registration, rather than the choice of actual voting methods at the election:

    • • In person at the polling station

      • By postal vote, or

      • By nominating a proxy to vote on your behalf.
    This from the Electoral Commission's advice for Service personnel and partners:
    (link previously posted)
    Only one of these choices is available to you at any one election; but you can always change your preference by application to the Council's Electoral Registration Officer.

    Some forces personnel and partners have reported problems with postal voting in previous elections. Others object to being 'expected' to appoint a proxy. More on this to follow soon. We welcome feedback from any forces personnel or partners about postal or proxy voting problems/concerns.

    Please do not be put off registering to vote NOW.

    If a proxy or postal vote is appropriate for you, you should apply at the same time as you register to vote.

    We and others continue to advocate improvements to the present arrangements.

    At time of writing, we haven't found anything new on Electoral Commission website. (link previously posted).


    1. "Leaflets with further information will be sent to all units in early February." Good. Some observers will read this as a pointer to the date of the General Election (5th May?). Either way, registration remains an urgent issue.

    2. Just hope the leaflet packages dont get bumped off flights, like the newspapers! Seriously, look out for the leaflets.

    3. If serving or a 'partner', ask to see the new DCI.

    4. The welcome new DCI reinforces the 'ARRSE' message: register NOW.



    A. The DCI can be read HERE.

    B. The General Election IS on 5th May!

    C. The leaflets expected in early February actually reached units in early MARCH or later.
  11. UPDATE 8 FEB


    As we thought! The civilian legislation is clear on this point, but it was possible that MOD genuinely were still instructing personnel to submit registration forms through the Service. Their out-of-date web pages to that effect have now been removed.

    MOD have also removed previous 'advice' that Service voters only have to register one-time which remains in force throughout their service. We knew that bit had to be wrong, but a forces member or spouse who found the out-of-date web page might not have known that.

    Thanks, MOD, for sorting this out. Our note below is now CANCELLED, but we'll leave it up for a while in case anyone is wondering what we were on about.

    Temporary note pending confirmation.

    Although you only have to send in a form to the Council's Electoral Registration Officer in order to have your name added to the Electoral Register, there may still be a requirement to take action within your Unit, so that the system can keep track of your personal "voter status".

    At the time of writing, the information available on official websites has been contradictory on this point. MOD are now updating their website. Info from different Council websites remains contradictory: most Councils, as well as the Electoral Commission, say that all registration forms should go direct to the Council.

    We suggest you urgently check the recent DCI(JS) 01/05, and the MOD leaflets due out in "early February".
  12. "Postal Polling Perils", etc

    We've tracked down a bit more information on MOD-related websites, some OK, some of it contradictory, years out of date and hopelessly misleading.

    With the new MOD leaflets about to come out, and MOD hopefully reviewing the website information [they now have - see revised links], we wont post any new links except for this "Factsheet: Voting overseas" from Army Families Federation, Cyprus. A short pdf document, well worth a read for anyone who still has questions, and it explains several points which are not usually covered -

    For example, residence qualifications when moving from UK, annual re-registration paperwork, service dependants other than spouses. (We think their references to certain MOD forms, and to FTRS, are not now correct.) Also this about postal voting:

    Many Councils send out postal ballot paperwork at the first moment they are legally allowed to. But the last date for them to send the papers out is much later - from recollection, 4 working days before voting day. Chances of your postal vote counting in the election :?:

    If you are posted overseas, the alternative to postal voting is to appoint a 'proxy' to vote on your behalf. If you have a relative/friend/colleague who is in the UK, if you can rely on them and if you can contact them with your final voting decison, that is your best option. The proxy doesn't need to be in the constituency but if they are outside it, they will need to apply for a postal vote in good time, and you will need to let them know your voting decison earlier.

    We understand you can change between postal and proxy voting at any time, basically before the election is announced. Act quickly if your circumstances have changed. UPDATE: Recent or imminent deployment? This comment applies both to Regulars, and to mobilised TA & Reservists. Anyone deploying now is 'rather unlikely' to get to the polling station for elections any time soon.

    We've heard many other reports of postal votes arriving too late. Any more problems with postal or proxy voting in previous elections - post in our "discussion" thread or email -

    N Wiltshire D C have said that postal ballot papers for the County Council elections on 5th May will be sent out between Fri, 22 Apr and Fri, 29 Apr.
  13. By request, here are two extracts from that article, © Army Families Federation:
    • (follow the above link for AFF contacts)
  14. Because we believe it's really important, something from our separate 'discussion' thread reproduced in full.
    Includes more about the disadvantages of postal voting from overseas:

    Just to emphasise how really urgent is the need to register

    Personnel/spouses not on the current register are already too late to get their names added in time for any election in early March.

    And they have less than FIVE weeks left [as at 5 Feb] to get their applications in the hands of the Council in time to vote in any 5 May election. If they choose to vote by proxy (generally recommended option for those overseas) and their proxy is not able to vote in person, the proxy needs to submit a postal voting application in time also.

    Without going too far into the detail of the timetable prescribed by legislation, this from a Council website:

    • 1.Their emphasis.

      2. For those who have already applied to vote by post, the postal ballot form cannot be issued by the 'returning officer' before 5pm on the eleventh day before polling day. Postal voting is therefore NOT generally considered a safe option for voters overseas. Without any need for legislation, MOD could look quickly into the feasibility of (voluntary) accelerated postal arrangements for votes by overseas personnel/adult dependants/employees, but this would be for them to advise, failing which I agree with warnings elsewhere about postal voting.

      3. The local govt elections are not UK-wide.

      4. Source: West Oxfordshire Council

    If you are serving or the partner of a serviceman or woman, or if you have service or family connections with them, you might like to help us with one or more of our (perfectly appropriate) questions which can be found at this link.

    • sample question:

    PS. Army Families Federation have also invited feedback on electoral problems - see earlier 'post'