Electoral Register: Armed Forces

Department for Culture, Media and Sport written question – answered on 19th July 2017.

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Photo of Lord Allen of Kensington Lord Allen of Kensington Labour

To ask Her Majesty’s Government when they plan to introduce a new Electronic Communications Code.

Photo of Lord Lexden Lord Lexden Conservative

Her Majesty's Government what is their estimate of the number of members of the armed forces posted abroad who (1) register to vote, and (2) cast their votes in elections and referendums.

Photo of Lord Lexden Lord Lexden Conservative

Her Majesty's Government how many members of the armed forces were stationed abroad (1) on the date of the 2016 EU referendum, and (2) on the date of the 2017 general election.

Photo of Lord Lexden Lord Lexden Conservative

Her Majesty's Government how many postal votes were submitted by members of the armed forces abroad at (1) the 2016 EU referendum, and (2) the 2017 general election.

Photo of Lord Lexden Lord Lexden Conservative

Her Majesty's Government what percentage of British armed forces posted abroad are on the electoral register.

Photo of Lord Lexden Lord Lexden Conservative

Her Majesty's Government what is their estimate of the number of members of the armed forces posted abroad who (1) register to vote, and (2) cast their votes in elections and referendums.

Photo of Lord Lexden Lord Lexden Conservative

Her Majesty's Government how many members of the armed forces were stationed abroad (1) on the date of the 2016 EU referendum, and (2) on the date of the 2017 general election.

Photo of Lord Lexden Lord Lexden Conservative

Her Majesty's Government how many postal votes were submitted by members of the armed forces abroad at (1) the 2016 EU referendum, and (2) the 2017 general election.

Photo of Earl Howe Earl Howe The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence, Deputy Leader of the House of Lords

In April 2016 (the nearest available data point to the 2016 EU Referendum) there were 10,500 Service personnel stationed overseas and in April 2017 (the closest data point to the 2017 General Election) there were 9,200. However, the Ministry of Defence (MOD) does not hold information to indicate the numbers or percentage of these personnel who were registered to vote or who actually voted. With regard to postal votes, the MOD does not hold data which would give an accurate analysis of the number of ballot papers submitted by Service personnel, as the voter packs processed by the Department also include the dependents of Service personnel, MOD civilian personnel based abroad and the dependents of civilian personnel. In addition, some personnel may have chosen alternative methods of returning their ballot papers.

Registration is a personal matter and personnel are free to decide whether, where and how they register to vote. The MOD works closely with the Electoral Commission to promote awareness among its people of the importance of registering to vote and of the options for doing so. Voter registration campaigns are run yearly within the MOD and the Department has seen a steady rise in the number of Armed Forces personnel who have declared they have registered. The latest version of the Armed Forces Continuous Attitude Survey (AFCAS, 2017) indicates that 96 per cent of Officers and 81 per cent of Other Ranks who completed the AFCAS were registered to vote. Table B22.1 of the AFCAS provides figures on voter registration by Service and by year from 2013. The Surveys can be found on the Government website: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/armed-forces-continuous-attitude-survey-index

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