The Electoral Commission in the UK has launched a campaign reminding British citizens living abroad that they need to be on the electoral register to vote in UK elections and referendums.
If a UK Parliamentary general election were to be called for 5 May, electors would need to register by 11 March to be able to vote.
British citizens living abroad but who have been registered to vote in the UK within the last 15 years can apply to be overseas voters.
If they were too young to register when leaving the UK, their parent or guardian must have been registered.
An electoral registration form can be found on The Electoral Commission’s voter information site, www.aboutmyvote.co.uk, which also contains clear details of how to register as an overseas voter.
The completed registration form should be returned to the electoral registration office for the address where they were last registered to vote in the UK.
When overseas voters register, they can also apply to vote by post if they want a ballot paper sent to them, or by proxy if they want someone else to vote on their behalf.
Overseas voters are eligible to vote in elections for the UK Parliament and the European Parliament.
Angela Salt, Communication Director at The Electoral Commission, says: “It’s important that people realise that they need to be on the electoral register to be able to vote. If there were to be an election in May, the cut-off date to make sure you are on the electoral register is 11 March. We are urging eligible British citizens living abroad to act now so they don’t lose their right to vote.”
Since its establishment in 2000, The Electoral Commission has been responsible for promoting awareness of democratic and electoral system.
As part of this responsibility, the Commission has sought to encourage potential voters to register on the register of electors.
The Commission runs an annual registration campaign in February each year to encourage voters to register in time for spring elections.
Unlike in the UK, there is no legal requirement for eligible citizens living abroad to register to vote.