British expats overseas denied referendum postal votes through EC incompetence

Published:  24 Jun at 6 PM
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Giving that the referendum result was a close call, is it possible that international postal chaos and EC inefficiency has been responsible for the Brexit win?

British expats across three continents are outraged after losing their chances to vote in the Brexit referendum due to international postal chaos and the uncaring attitude of the UK’s Electoral Commission . Unacceptable delays and administrative errors have caused an as yet unspecified number of Brit expats living overseas to be denied the chance to voice their views.

Given that several million expats including those living, working and retiring in EU members states via the ‘free movement’ directive may well lose their rights to remain in their chosen countries once Britain’s withdrawal is complete, it’s easy to understand their fury. Postal ballots are attracting the most rage and the UK Electoral Commission is being accused of incompetence and an uncaring attitude towards expats.

Expats in France, Australia and Thailand have voiced complaints that postal ballots were not received, enquires about their whereabouts went unanswered and local post offices refused to use the free international business postal service used by the EC. Late arrivals of postal ballots were another problem, with many getting the form too late to return it.

Another group which will be less than thrilled about the referendum result will be those expats who have lived overseas for more than 15 years, thus becoming disenfranchised. During the recent failed court battle to reverse the rule, a figure of over a million British citizens were said to be affected, the vast majority of whom would have voted Remain. Those voters, plus those who were unable to use their postal votes, may well have swung the result in the opposite direction.
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