UK expat voters: 'One man, one ballot'?

 Hundreds of British expatriates woke up grumbling Saturday morning, following the historic U.K. general election won handily by the Conservative Party.

They weren’t upset that the candidates they voted for didn’t win. They’re upset they didn’t get to vote at all.

On Monday, the Cayman Compass published a campaign photo of London Mayor Boris Johnson holding a sign that said, “Expats! Your vote is important.”

Mr. Johnson (who went on to secure a seat in Parliament and a position in the new Tory Cabinet) evidently hadn’t double-checked that message with U.K. electoral authorities.

With the responsibility for sending out postal ballots devolved to each of the 650 British electoral constituencies, it’s easy to forgive local U.K. officials for being individually unaware that a span of 18 days (from the deadline for ballot applications to election day) was an unrealistically insufficient amount of time for a mailed document to make it halfway around the world, much less back, particularly considering the substandard performance of other countries’ postal systems, including, historically, that of the Cayman Islands.

It’s less easy to understand how the national electoral authority could fail to take those practicalities into account when designing the scheme for Britons to vote from overseas.

In recent months, much has been said in Cayman about “one man, one vote” and “voter equality” — and if our admittedly idiosyncratic electoral system passes muster under those principles.

We may be a tiny, far-flung colony, but even we can see that the first step in giving everyone an equal vote, is to give everyone an equal ballot.


  1. Obviously they should have allowed at least a month for mailing and return of overseas ballots.

    But a thought for those UK citizens living here who wanted to vote.

    If you live here permanently then you should think carefully before choosing to vote.

    UK Domicile law for tax purposes is complex and involves many issues. The most important is: where do you intend remaining for the rest of your life?

    I would suggest that voting in a UK election is a connection to your previous home that you avoid.

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