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Armed Forces: Absent Voting

Volume 506: debated on Monday 22 February 2010

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what discussions he has had with Ministerial colleagues on arrangements to ensure that service personnel on active duty can vote at the next general election. (317446)

I am working closely with the Minister of State at the Ministry of Justice, the right hon. Member for North Swindon (Mr. Wills), and the Electoral Commission regarding this important matter. The Ministry of Justice have set up a working party of officials and representatives of service families to look at long-term solutions. We are committed to ensuring, where we can, that all service personnel and their families who are eligible are registered to vote and can do so.

The proxy vote system is available to everybody and this is the most reliable means of voting for those for whom operational demands or their location would make the completion and return of postal votes difficult. None the less, we are striving to ensure that our service men and women, particularly those in Afghanistan are registered and able to vote in the forthcoming election.