Armed Forces

On this page, you can find out

  • Who can register as a service voter
  • How to register to vote as a service voter
  • How to vote as a service voter

Who can register as a service voter?

You can register as a service voter if you are a member of the armed forces or the spouse or civil partner of someone in the armed forces.

In Scotland, a child aged 14 or over whose parent or guardian is a member of HM Forces is also eligible to register as a service voter. They must be living in Scotland or would be living in Scotland if their parent or guardian were not based overseas. They will not be able to vote in Scottish Parliamentary or local government elections until they are 16 or in UK Parliamentary or European Parliamentary elections until they are 18.


Register to vote

If you're a member of the armed forces, or the spouse or civil partner of someone in the armed forces, you can register to vote either as a service voter or as an ordinary voter.

The way you choose to register to vote is up to you and will depend on your personal circumstances.

Registering as a service voter

If you're based overseas, or expect to be posted abroad in the next year, it makes sense to register as a service voter. This allows you to be registered at a fixed address in the UK even if you move around.

Service voter registration lasts for five years, so once you're registered you shouldn't have to worry about it while you're busy overseas. You can cancel your service voter registration at any time.

In Scotland, a person who is under 18 years old who is registered as a service voter because they live with a parent or guardian who is a member of HM Forces must renew their registration every year.

To register in England, Scotland or Wales, you can register to vote as a service voter online.

In Northern Ireland, visit the Electoral Office for Northern Ireland website.

Registering as an ordinary voter

If you're based in the UK and are unlikely to change your address or be posted overseas in the next year, you can register as an ordinary voter.

To register in England, Scotland or Wales, you can register to vote online .

In Northern Ireland, visit the Electoral Office for Northern Ireland website.

Your unit has a designated Unit Registration Officer who will be able to give you more information and advice. Ask your administration office for their contact details.


How can I vote?

Don't worry if you're abroad at the time of the referendum or have another reason why you won't be able to vote in person on the day – you can apply to vote by post or by proxy.

Voting by post

Postal votes may only be sent out about a week before election day. If you are living abroad, it may be better to appoint a proxy to vote on your behalf as there may not be enough time for your postal vote to reach you and be sent back before voting closes.

Find out more about postal voting

Voting by proxy

If you're abroad or can't vote in person, you can apply to vote by proxy (someone voting on your behalf).

Find out more about proxy voting