The Armed Forces can register to vote as ordinary electors, as overseas voters, or as service voters. There has been concern about the under-registration of the Armed Forces, especially those serving overseas, and the difficulties they face in participating in the electoral process more generally.The Note also gives a brief history of how the system of voting by members of the Armed Forces has changed, particularly during the periods directly after each World War.
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Electoral integrity and absent voting – Westminster Hall Debate
Stewart Jackson MP has secured a debate on Westminster Hall on electoral integrity and absent voting. It will be held at 4.30pm on Wednesday 9 November 2015.
On 14 August 2015 the Cabinet Office announced that Sir Eric Pickles, the Government’s Anti-Corruption Champion, was to review electoral fraud and make recommendations on what could be done to tackle the problem.
There has been increasing concern about electoral offences in recent years and in 2012 the Electoral Commission began a review to determine whether there were opportunities to improve confidence in the security of the electoral process. On 8 January 2014 the Commission published its final report and recommendations on electoral fraud in the UK. The Commission called for sustained action to address the risk of electoral fraud, especially in higher risk areas, and has called for the introduction of a system under which voters should be required to show proof of identity at the polling station before they can be issued with a ballot paper.
The Commons Library briefing on Electoral offences since 2010 gives details of the reports published by the Electoral Commission and the Associations of Chief Police Officers on cases of alleged malpractice. It also gives a chronology of allegations of electoral malpractice from 2010 and describes the different election offences.
Postal voting has been associated with the potential for electoral fraud. The Commons Library briefing on postal voting looks at the steps taken to address this risk.
To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker’s Committee on the Electoral Commission, what assessment the Electoral Commission has made of the efficacy of removing the current policy of absent votes on demand in favour of the previous absent votes criteria for the purpose of preventing electoral fraud; and if he will make a statement.
Opposition Day Debate on Electoral registration
HC Deb 4 Feb 2015 cc344-84
Michael Wilkinson and James Rothwell, Oldham by-election: Police could be called in to investigate alleged voting fraud amid UKIP complaints about Labour victory, Telegraph 4 December 2015
Nigel Morris, Eric Pickles to lead electoral fraud investigation into ‘rotton boroughs’ after Tower Hamlets scandal, Independent 12 August 2015
Five sentenced for Maybury and Sheerwater ballot fraud, BBC News 9 June 2015
Editorial, Electoral fraud: The risks of the remedy, Guardian January 8 2014
Electoral fraud in the UK: final report and reccomendations, The Electoral Commission, January 2014
The 2015 General Election: aspects of participation and administration, Colin Rawlings and Michael Thrasher, August 2015 – Table 14: proxy voting 2015, p13
The 2010 General Election: aspects of participation and administration, Colin Rawlings and Michael Thrasher, August 2010 – Table 12: proxy voting 2010, p12
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British citizens living overseas are currently entitled to be registered to vote in UK Parliamentary elections for up to 15 years in the constituency they were registered in before leaving the UK. The Government has committed to end the 15-year limit and introduce 'votes for life'. This Briefing Paper provides details of the provisions relating to overseas voters in the Representation of the People Act 1985 and the proposals for change. It also summarises earlier attempts to change the 15 year rule.
Under current legislation, a person must be 18 or over to vote in elections to the UK Parliament. This Note gives details of calls for a change in the law to reduce the voting age to 16 in recent years.