The Electoral Commission’s campaign (read The Telegraph press article here) to persuade British expats to vote in the European and local elections fell well short of its target.
However, according to the Electoral Commission’s own Overseas evaluation May 2014 report, it set a “particularly stretching” target in assuming it could run an overseas elector public awareness campaign three times as effective as its autumn 2009 campaign, due to increased on-line take-up since then. That this wasn’t achieved could also be attributed to the marketing awareness choice of the European elections, which have traditionally low turnouts in the UK and for which expats have a more convenient alternative where resident (see below).
It is also questionable then why the campaign did not just focus on British expatriate citizens resident within the European Union instead of media buying power on-line being diverted to countries such as Pakistan and India which produced over 60% of the “clicks” for poor return.
Still, a total of around 89,000 “clicks” on these adverts of which over 62% were via Facebook, is not very impressive for an eligible British expatriate base ( resident abroad for less than the 15-year-limit) of some 2 – 3 million but demonstrates the difficulty in specifically locating and communicating with these potential voters.
Now that subsequent to this media campaign British citizens overseas can register on-line to vote, why not be proactive – particularly the younger Facebook generation who can share this link and promote through their friends – and click on here to register in good time for the general election in May 2015? It only takes a few minutes.
“Although we were disappointed not to hit our target we recognise that expatriates at these elections may have chosen to register to vote in their EU countries of residence,” said the report.”
“In the run up to the elections, expats who downloaded voter registration forms had to print them out, fill them in, get them countersigned by another British passport holder and then post them back to the UK. The Electoral Commission admitted this was an “onerous task” which may have been off-putting.”
“The introduction of online registration will make this process a great deal more straightforward in future,” said the Commission, which will launch another publicity drive targeting expats ahead of the General Election next May.”