Thursday, 25 March 2010

Voting System must be changed for the armed forces

Very few of our armed forces will actually vote in the forthcoming General Election due to the systems used. Anyone stationed abroad must vote by post and, given the deadlines, very few of them will be able to vote in time. This will be especially true for those stationed in remote parts and fighting on the front line in Afghanistan.

Ian Swales, Liberal Democrat prospective MP for Redcar, said "it's a scandal that many of our troops are bravely fighting to bring democracy to other countries while they are denied their basic democratic rights at home. In practice few of our service personnel will vote in the forthcoming election. Other countries such as Canada have solved this problem and report high turn outs from troops serving abroad. The Government have known about this for a long time but only set up a working party in January. That group has yet to report so there's no chance of implementing any recommendations before the General Election.

"Our troops have been getting a raw deal on equipment, pay and housing. Now they're being denied the right to have their say."

Eric Howden, Chairman of the British Legion in Cleveland said "This is disgusting, our troops put their lives on the line for this country daily and to deny them the simple right to vote is almost criminal and shows what our government really think of our troops. Our troops have fought for the right to the freedom of a vote on behalf of so many countries for so many years, only for our country stop them having that same right."

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