When you live and work overseas, voting in elections can become complicated. Different countries have different rules on how citizens abroad can vote, and you may not have even realised it was even possible for you to do so.
If you are British, a new online sign-up was recently launched to make voting in the coming general election easier. Here’s a quick overview of what’s involved.
Sign Up for the May Election
The UK Electoral Commission, which is the elections watchdog, recently launched a voter registration campaign for non-residents that you can read all about here.
‘Overseas Voter Registration Day’ was held on February 5 to raise awareness of the ability of Brits to vote while they are overseas and to highlight the first time that people have been able to register to vote online from abroad.
The general election will take place on Thursday May 7, and the aim is to get as many of the 5.5 million UK nationals resident abroad to vote as possible. Current estimates put the number of expats registered to vote at 20,000, and the aim is to get this much higher in time for the election.
How to Sign Up
If you live abroad and you want to register to vote, there is one rule: you must have been registered in a UK constituency at some point within the past 15 years. This is a point of contention for millions of expats who have lived abroad for over 15 years, as you can read about on this website, which is dedicated to allowing expats who have lived overseas for more than 15 years to get the right to vote as well.
If you want to register to vote, visit this page on Gov.uk. You have until Monday April 20 to sign up to vote, so there are a few months to go yet.
Signing up is a very simple process. You simply need to provide the address in the UK where you were last registered to vote, your National Insurance number, your passport details, your name and date of birth.
You then choose how you would like to be contacted (via email, telephone or post), and you also decide how you want to vote. The choices are in person, by post or by proxy. Your application is then processed and you will receive confirmation in due course.
If you choose to vote by proxy, you must fill in a form with the details of the person who you want to vote on your behalf. You must print this off, fill it in and send it by mail, and details of this will be provided once you have finished the sign-up process.
Don’t Miss Out on Your Right to Vote
If you are a Brit and you don’t want to miss out on your right to vote, sign up as soon as possible. It’s easy to arrange, and then you can ensure your vote counts wherever you are in the world.