UK expats urged to use Brexit vote before deadline

UK expats living abroad are being urged by the Electoral Commission to register to vote in the UK’s EU referendum before the 7 June midnight deadline.

The in-out referendum on the UK’s membership of the European Union takes place on 23 June with midnight on 7 June the final registration deadline for both UK and overseas voters.

The Electoral Commission, UK’s independent elections watchdog, said that in a recent survey  three in four (74%) of people they spoke to either don’t know the deadline to register, or believe it is later than 7 June.

Alex Robertson, director of communications at the Electoral Commission, said: “The EU Referendum is an historic event and there are millions of people who will miss out on it simply because they aren’t registered to vote.

“If you aren’t already registered you need to do it by Tuesday 7 June at www.gov.uk/register-to-vote. It’s easy and only takes a few minutes.”

UK expats are in the commission’s ‘under represented’ category and it pointed that there is time to register to vote, although it is advising expats to consider voting by proxy (appointing someone you trust to vote on your behalf).

The deadline to apply for a postal vote is 5pm BST on 8 June. Postal vote ballot papers must arrive back by 10pm BST on 23 June at the latest to be counted.

Overseas voters who want to vote by proxy must register and then complete and return an application form to their local electoral registration office by 17:00 BST on 15 June in Great Britain, and by 17:00 BST on 3 June in Northern Ireland.

Only those on the UK electoral register in the last 15 years can register. Last week, as reported on International Adviser’s website, The Supreme Court rejected a last ditch plea for their rights to inclusion in the referendum by two British expats, who have been living abroad for longer than the 15 years cut off point.

You can vote in the EU stay/go referendum if you are registered to vote in the UK, are 18 or over on the day and are:

  • A British or Irish citizen living in the UK
  • A Commonwealth citizen living in the UK who has leave to remain in the UK or who does not require leave to remain in the UK
  • A British citizen living overseas who has been registered to vote in the UK in the last 15 years (For those who were too young to register when they left the UK, their parent or guardian must been have registered)
  • An Irish citizen living overseas who was born in Northern Ireland and who has been registered to vote in Northern Ireland in the last 15 years
  • A citizen of Gibraltar

Those eligible can register to vote online. For more information about postal votes or using a proxy voter is available at www.aboutmyvote.co.uk.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Gary Robinson
Deputy Editor, International Investment and Head of Video at Open Door Media Publishing. A fully qualified journalist and filmmaker with more than 20 years' financial services experience, both as journalist and originally as an IFA.

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