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Annual Canvass (Armed Forces)

Volume 453: debated on Monday 27 November 2006

To ask the hon. Member for Gosport, representing the Speaker’s Committee on the Electoral Commission what work the Electoral Commission has carried out during the annual canvass to encourage members of the armed services to register to vote; and what the impact of the work has been. (102471)

The Commission informs me that, together with the Ministry of Defence (MOD), it has launched a campaign in support of the annual canvass to encourage service personnel to register. This has involved sending over 250,000 registration leaflets to over 4,000 military units across the globe; appointing Unit Registration Officers who arranged Service Electoral Registration Days within units; placing registration reminder messages on service personnel payslips; and publishing articles in a range of service publications. Electoral Registration Officers have been encouraged to work closely with Unit Registration Officers to maximise registration and to monitor the success of the campaign.

The Commission and the MOD will be conducting a thorough evaluation of the campaign, which will include the MOD repeating the survey it conducted during the 2005 annual canvass to monitor registration levels and awareness among service personnel. The results from this will be available in spring 2007. Initial evidence suggests that this year’s campaign has been more successful in encouraging service personnel to register than that in 2005.