Remain Proxy Voter volunteers flock to Facebook to help Brit expats

Published:  18 Nov at 6 PM
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Over a thousand Britons supporting Remain are offering their services as proxy voters to UK expats in Europe who’re afraid their General Election postal votes won’t arrive in time to be counted.

The operation, named Remain Proxy Voter, was started in response to concerns over possible mail strikes in the UK and France as well as the expected volume of Christmas post. The anti-Brexit votes of both Remain supporters in the UK and the vast majority of the 1.5 million British expats living overseas might well turn the tide in favour of a Remain referendum, especially if a hung parliament or Labour party win is the result of the election.

The scheme is the brainchild of North London resident and anti-Brexit campaigner Nigel Grey, who acted as a proxy for two friends during the recent European elections. According to Nigel, it’s well known that postal votes don’t provide a viable option for British expatriates, as the paperwork often doesn’t arrive until just before or even just after the poll, thus losing expat voters the chance to have their opinions registered.

Even those with friends or family still in the UK would prefer to use independent proxy votes, especially as close relatives may not live in the same home constituency as overseas voters. Another reason is that a number of expats might not trust their nearest and dearest to vote the way they’ve requested, and only a few are happy to use a proxy vote set up by their preferred political party as some, it seems, might be preparing to vote tactically for a party they’ve not supported before.

Remain Proxy Voter is planning to match up expat voters with proxy voters living in the same constituency who’ve volunteered on Facebook. To ensure volunteers are genuinely backing the Remain cause, social media histories as well as reference checks will take place, after which the overseas voter will be introduced to his proxy and arrangements can be made. Only if both sides agree will the proxy vote take place. According to Nigel Grey, the take-up of his scheme to date is very encouraging, and is attracting volunteer proxy voters from across the UK.
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