Campaign encourages service personnel to vote

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MEMBERS of the armed forces are being urged to make sure they register to vote in the upcoming election.

Anna Soubry has launched a government campaign to increase electoral registration among servicemen and women.

The aim is to remind members of the armed forces how vital it is they have the chance to exercise their democratic right to vote in this year’s general election.

Ms Soubry, minister for defence personnel, welfare and veterans, right, said: ‘Defence is inherently associated with the democratic process – its purpose is to seek to defend freedoms of democracy, and by registering to vote personnel can demonstrate that they think this is an important right.

‘Being in the armed forces can sometimes make it difficult to remain on the electoral register, particularly if personnel move around regularly or are posted overseas. And in common with the wider population, young service personnel are less likely to register to vote than those who are older.’

While around 85 per cent of the general population is on the electoral roll, the lower ranks of the army and Royal Marines are reported as 60 per cent and 61 per cent respectively.

Elsewhere, the Royal Navy and RAF lower ranks reported rates of 75 per cent and 74 per cent respectively.

The government has made more than £14m available aimed at maximising voter registration.

The Cabinet Office has allocated £500,000 of the funding to the Ministry of Defence to encourage service personnel to register in time for the deadline of April 20.