Member of the Armed Forces (or husband, wife, civil partner)
You need to register in order to vote in any UK elections or referendums. You can use this site to look at some of our top reasons why its important to register to vote. You can also look at how you can vote, and what you can vote for.
What are my registration options?
If you’re a member of the Armed Forces, or the husband, wife 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.
• 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. A Service Voter registration also lasts for five years, so once you’re registered, you shouldn’t have to worry about it while you’re busy overseas. Use the links on the left to register as a service voter.
• If you’re based in the UK and are unlikely to change address or be posted overseas in the next year, you can register as an ordinary voter. This is the type of registration where you’ll receive an annual canvass registration form through the post at your address once a year between mid-August and November. Ordinary voters need to re-register every year (annually). You don’t need to wait for the annual canvass if you want to register as a service voter.
Registering for the Scottish Independence Referendum
There will be a referendum on independence in Scotland on 18 September 2014. Anyone aged 16 or over on the date of the referendum will be able to vote. In order to vote in the referendum, you will need to be on the Scottish local government register, or on the register of young voters.
Whichever way you choose to register, its very important that you tell your local electoral registration office if you change address. If you don’t, you won’t receive important information like a reminder of when you need to re-register, or information about elections in your area. For more information on the Scottish Independence Referendum, visit our page here
How can I vote? What if I’m abroad on election day?
As you probably know, most people vote in person by going to a polling station in the UK. But don’t worry if you’re abroad at the time of the election 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 (someone voting on your behalf). Have a look at our How to vote pages for more information.
If you’re based abroad, you need to be aware that, due to election timetables, you may not receive your ballot paper until shortly before election day. Depending on where you’re based, there may not be enough time for you to return your ballot before voting closes (10pm on election day), so voting by post may not be the best way for you to vote. In these circumstances we would encourage you to appoint a proxy in the UK to vote on your behalf. Proxies can themselves apply to vote for you by post, if this is easiest for them. You can find more information on postal and proxy voting here
Want further information on registration or voting? Have a look at our Frequently Asked Questions.