UK government finally announces details of expat lifetime right to vote

Published:  12 Oct at 6 PM
Want to get involved? Become a Featured Expat and take our interview.
Become a Local Expert and contribute articles.
Get in touch today!
The British government has now seen fit to finally scrap the rule disenfranchising all UK expats who’ve lived abroad for more than 15 years.

One of the most controversial issues highlighted by the Brexit referendum was the 15-year voting rule which disallowed hundreds of thousands of British expats in Europe from having a say in their own future. The scrapping of the despised rule has been on the agenda since the 2015 general election, but is only now being brought in despite claims it would be impossible to check all expat voters against older voter registrations.

Skimming over the pleasantries with which the government policy summary begins, the details of the new rule confirm that all Brits living overseas are now allowed to register to vote in parliamentary elections. Registration must be done in the constituency where they were previously entered as voters, provided said entry was in force within 15 years.

At present, expats who were not registered in the UK cannot register as overseas voters, with the exception of those who were too young to vote when they emigrated. Those in this group who were living with their parents before leaving the UK will be able to register using their parents’ address. Identity verification will be through the applicants’ name, National Insurance number and date of birth, and a separate process using a British passport copy will be used for those without National Insurance numbers.

Should a passport not be available, identity verification by another registered overseas voter will be needed. Once made, registrations from overseas voters will need to be renewed every year. British citizens serving in the armed forces overseas, civil servants working overseas, British Council employees and their spouses and those in the diplomatic service will see no change as they are not affected by the 15-year ban and are able to vote in all British elections.

The overseas application will include a declaration giving information on the applicant’s entitlement to vote in addition to the practical information required. Registration will be via the ‘register to vote’ pages on GOV.UK, by paper forms or, in special circumstances, by phone to the authority. Importantly under the present circumstances, the right to vote in referendums is not included, but must be set on a case-by-case basis by parliament. Should the possibility of a general election become a reality and another referendum is called, it’s to be hoped that government will allow the vote to all British expats overseas.
Like this news?

Comments » No published comments just yet for this article...

Feel free to have your say on this item. Go on... be the first!

Tell us Your Thoughts On This Piece:

Your Name *
Email * (not published, needs verification one time only)
  • Facebook
  • Follow us on Twitter
  • RSS feed
  • Facebook

Latest Headlines

News Links

News Archive