Page last updated at 09:14 GMT, Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Military vote system criticised

A Wiltshire-based military charity says soldiers are being denied their right to vote in the next general election because of the electoral system.

The Army Families Federation (AFF) says for people in conflict zones it is virtually impossible for ballot papers to get to them and then be sent back.

It says the proxy vote scheme does not work well with no guarantee of the person voting for the chosen candidate.

Swindon North MP Michael Wills says he will look into the issue.

He is due to chair a meeting of 40 MPs to see what can be done to improve the electoral system for serving soldiers.

AFF spokeswoman Julie McCarthy said: "The biggest problem we have is the voting process.

"There are 11 days between someone submitting their name [for the ballot sheet] and the papers being printed and the day that they have to be returned to the polling station.

"The ballot paper would have to leave Swindon, for example, be transported to Helmand Province and back in 11 days.

"There just aren't the aircraft or the ability to do that. It's the same for serving troops in Germany. It affects all service voters and their families."

The Ministry of Defence said in its last survey 65% of serving personnel were registered to vote.



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