Separate Constituencies for Overseas Voters?

Here are some thoughtful comments below from Frank Lowther following Harry Shindler’s recent interview with The Economist , to which the logical answer would be to have a separate constituency or constituencies for representation of the different requirements of British overseas voters. This implies, however, some +100,000 registered overseas voters to reach typical constituency size or more and gain the associated political support for change including removal of the current 15-year-limit on overseas voting rights. You can register as an overseas voter to try and make a difference.

Frank Lowther

“A practical question for Mr. Shindler: In which district should your vote be tallied, should your right to do so be restored?

Perhaps expat votes tallied in their last district of residence might work. But what of the person who lived most of their life in one district, then moved to another one for a short time prior to relocating overseas?

And any system that provides discretion to expats risks concentrating their votes in a particular district (with the potential to disenfranchise the actual residents of said district).

Expat votes in some systems can work without too much issue (for example, in US presidential elections, or national referenda). But they’re problematic in district/constituency systems.

By no means am I suggesting the disenfranchisement of expats; in general I agree with Mr. Shindler. I merely point out the issue is not merely one of “can you vote or not?” “

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7 Responses to Separate Constituencies for Overseas Voters?

  1. Jane Golding says:

    A comment on the suggestion that in order to justify a separate constituency for overseas voters, this implies +100,000 registered overseas voters to reach typical constituency size. Typical constituency size in the UK is not 100,000 or more but rather closer to 60,000-70,000 (there’s a House of Commons Library note on this). There are even a couple of constituencies with far fewer constituents than that in Scotland and the number of overseas voters registered in December 2010 was, at 32,739, in fact close to the size of the Orkney Islands constituency (not the smallest constituency in the UK). Clearly, 100,000 is the right sort of goal but not strictly speaking the required number of voters to justify a separate constituency in the UK.

  2. Michael Cushing says:

    Brian C and Brian 1932 – I did not receive these comments untill now ? So my previous comment should read as well yes just score a line through 20 year rule ( and 15 year rule if actually lawful reduction ) . As it seams the in- house ( Westminster ) carry on ( do you remember that series of films ) just rolls along making rules to suit itself then tacking on ;Miscelaneous amend 20 / 15 years to NO TIME LIMIT – Representation of Peoples Act 1985 ( 5 years ) amended 1989 ( 20 years) amended ( my book unlawful )Miscelaneous Page 141 Political Parties ,, Elections, Referendums Act 2000 ( 20 to 15 years ) to the NEXT ACT TO BE PASSED should not be very difficult – where would the objections come from ? Only those UK Citizens who dodn’t know what democracy is

    • brian1932 says:

      Apologies if confusion has arisen – I am both Brian Cave and Brian 1932 -The latter indicates my age!
      Only those with power can change the absurd situation – i.e the MPs aided by the ‘peers’. THE POLITICIANS
      Let us remember that after 15 years residence in the EU, beyond the UK we cannot choose whether to elect a British MEP or a foreign national MEP because the British Government has disenfranchised us. The damned 15 year rule is the problem. This cause the UK to flout the EU regulation that we should have this choice – The UK Government actually is preventing us exercising our democratic right to choose! –
      So let us persuade the politicians by direct contact…. Action has to be direct to the cause of the illness.
      Greg Clark MP is the chap with the responsibility for Political reform – write to him.
      gregclarkmp@parliament.uk
      To write to any MP/peer of your choice here is where you find their email addresses
      http://www.parliament.uk/mps-lords-and-offices/mps/
      The civil servant (be kind to her!) who is the POLICY SUPPORT OFFICER to the Cabinet Office for political reform is Donna Smith – She is to be found at this address.
      Donna.Smith1@cabinet-office.gsi.gov.uk
      She will pass messages to the Cabinet Office.

  3. Michael Cushing says:

    reply to Peter C-G, exactly that IT IS SO SIMPLE except ; For the ” democratic UK citizens ” who make decisions called Westminster MPs ( Westminster controling UK voting law ), who in my book ilegally disenfranchised me by REDUCING the period ( 20 to 15 years ) to re-register on overseas electoral roll. ( I did apply at my last Uk Registrar Office ) BY AMENDMENT ( PPER ) Political Parties, Elections, Referendums Act 2000 miscellaneous page 141 amend 20 to 15 years why didn’t they tack that on to another irrelevent Act ( like Road traffic Act ) instead of the Representation of the Peoples Act which is the Act that is the legal instrument for the Electoral Registrars to accept UK citizens to register . It is unfortunate that as majority UK citizens are misinformed re the Union of the UK that all discussions re dedicated MPs for overseas UK Citizens cannot work in the first place on account there are seperate jurisdictions Union act 1808 Ireland ( modified to Ulster 1922 ), 1707 Act Scotland , and the Electoral Boundry commision to equalise constituencies.. As Westminster MPs for the FIRST TIME in 1985 passed the overseas right for Uk citizens to register then the NON DEMOCRATIC action was taken in year 2000 !!!! Its simple really is there such a thing as democracy in UK ,

  4. Peter Courtney-Green says:

    “expat votes tallied in their last district of residence” not only might work but does work, because that’s what happens now. There should be no discretion to choose a favourite constituency. The question for the person who lives most of his life in one constituency then moves elsewhere for a short time before relocating overseas is a simple one: “Where were you last registered to vote?” The same question applies to those of us who have been disenfranchised by the iniquitous 15 year rule. I now pay taxes in two EU countries and have no vote in national elections in either of them.

  5. brian1932 says:

    To cut to the quick! Removal of the 15 year limit would almost surely result in the expatriates developing a interest in their British Identity. This limit is a huge deterrent. It says ‘YOU ARE NOT REALLY WANTED – The British Government has no real interest in you!” – If the limit was removed and the British Government showed a true concern for the citizen abroad then probably the door would open- THEN the Government can give due consideration to the ‘constituency’ issue with a real desire to listen to the expatriates.
    Why on earth do they not just do that? It would cost nothing – It would bring honour to them.
    At the moment they are saying ‘few expatriates register to vote, we’are not going to do anything!’
    But can they not realise a great reason why the citizens abroad do not register to vote is because the 15 year limit is saying ‘We at heart are really not interested in you’.
    British Government – Just remove the limit! Ans show an interest in the citizen.Then see what happens

  6. Brian Cave says:

    To cut to the quick! The 15 year limit is a mighty huge deterrent for expatriates to take any interest at all in British politics. Simple to remove that alone would cost nothing – Nothing at all! – What the hell — just do it! A stroke of the pen is all it needs. It would engender goodwill!
    The British Government might then discover that the British Expatriate might become increasingly proud and conscious of his/her British identity. After that it can worry about the constituency set-up. Why? Why on earth do they drag their feet? .

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