Our troops overseas mustn't lose their vote - Lord Roberts

November 2, 2009 8:46 AM

Liberal Democrat peer, Lord (Roger) Roberts has questioned the Government over plans to ensure members of our armed forces overseas can vote in next year's general election. Lord Roberts has highlighted three key issues:

* Armed forces personnel must be encouraged to register to vote -more than a third are currently not registered. He will propose thatanyone who signs up to the armed forces is automatically registered to vote.

* People must be able to organise their vote in time and how they feel comfortable. The Electoral Commission says logistics and timing make postal votes an "unrealistic" option but many people are not happy to trust their vote to a proxy who might not follow their wishes

* Campaign information about candidates and issues must reach people in time so they are informed when they vote. This is particularly pertinent given the unpopularity of the present Government

Lord Roberts says: "The fiasco with late registration forms before the 2005 election left some of our troops disenfranchised. I want to know what the Government is doing to ensure members of our armed forces serving overseas get to vote in 2010.

"A general election could be called anytime and these issues must be urgently resolved. It is scandalous that the Government expects our soldiers to put their lives on the line to protect democracy overseas with no guarantee they will be able to vote in elections at home."

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