The importance of still eligible British expatriates continuing to vote in UK elections is demonstrated by the Electoral Commission’s concern at the opportunity for fraud in an evolving multi-cultural society, in which you should also have a democratic say in its future development.
The Electoral Commission’s solution suggesting the use of voter ID as already practiced in elections in Northern Ireland eg passport, European driving licence (with photograph), official voter card etc. has already been attacked as unfair, discriminatory and likely to disenfranchise minorities.
When voting from abroad (by proxy or post), this is also a major reason for the current rather bureaucratic registering and voting system requiring passport ID for eligible British expatriates. Many of you can find this discouraging, not forgetting those already disenfranchised by the 15-year-law. However, the estimated 5 – 6 million British expatriates of which some 2 – 3 million with less than 15 years abroad could still register to vote, would represent a significant minority with a say in government policies impacting your’s and/or Britain’s future. If for example some 100,000 – 200,000 British expatriates (instead of the current 20,000 – 30,000) made the effort to register and then vote in the 2015 general election, this would represent the equivalent of 2 – 3 average constituencies.
Therefore, as we continue our struggle for unrestricted voting rights for all British expats, we have provided further guidance below on how to register to vote for all those of you who are not affected by this arbitrary cut-off rule of currently 15 years. If you have lived outside the UK for less than 15 years we would urge you, and any of your colleagues and friends who are similarly qualified, to register.
Since British expats living in EU Member States may choose to vote in the European Parliament elections in the UK, instead of in their country of residence, it is worth registering as soon as possible, and at any rate before the European Parliament election registration deadline of 7th May 2014. There is also the next general election in May 2015 to consider.
This is what you can do. You will need the postcode of your last address in the UK, and your current passport number and its place and date of issue.
Go to the Electoral Commission website www.aboutmyvote.co.uk and enter the postcode of your last address in the UK at which you were previously registered to vote. Click on GO in the green bar.
The next screen enables you to download the form, and tells you where to send it once you have printed it out, and completed and signed it.
If this is the first time that you have registered as an overseas (as opposed to UK-based) voter, you will need another British citizen to countersign the form as witness. The countersignatory must also provide his/her passport number and place and date of issue.
The form also enables you to register for a postal vote, or a proxy vote.