Having your political say is incredibly important, but as an expat, do you know about registering as an overseas voter?
You may have heard that the EU Referendum on the UK’s membership of the European Union will be taking place on 23rd June 2016 and in order to vote, you will have to be a registered as an overseas elector.
Take a look at what you, as an expat, need to know about registering as an overseas voter so you know all the facts for the upcoming year!
10 things to know about registering as an overseas voter:
- Overseas Voter Registration Day is on Thursday 4 February 2016, however this is not the deadline to register – it is an international awareness day. There is no official deadline to register but it is recommended that you do so before Monday 16th May 2016 to ensure you are properly registered in time. It only takes five minutes to visit the online registration site, and make sure you let others know too.
- It’s important that you know that if you’re not registered, you can’t vote in the referendum. As the date of the referendum as yet unknown, it’s best to register sooner rather than later so you can be sure you’re registered in time.
- In order to be eligible, you have to be a UK national who has been registered to vote in the UK within the last 15 years.
- Once you’re registered, you’ll be able to vote in the upcoming Referendum, but you’ll also be eligible to vote in other UK-wide referendums, UK Parliamentary General Elections, and European Parliamentary elections.
- You can register online at www.gov.uk/register-to-vote. This means that it is easier than before registering as an overseas voter.
- If you don’t want to register online, you can still download paper forms. But remember to return your completed form as far in advance of the deadline as possible. The deadline for registering to vote in time for the EU Referendum will be known once the date is set.
- You can choose how you wish to vote. You can vote by post, by proxy (appointing someone you trust to cast your vote) or even in person at a local UK polling station (if you happen to be in the vicinity at the time of the poll).
- Once registered, you have to sign an annual declaration to renew your registration every year. So if you were registered to vote for the 2015 General Election, you will have to renew your registration with your local Electoral Registration Officer in the UK or register again.
- At the 2015 General Election there were almost 106,000 overseas electors on the register; three times the number that were on the register ahead of the last general election and the highest number of overseas voters registered ever! Don’t be left out and be sure you register.
- Lots of people who live overseas might not even know that they may be able to take part. Pass the message on that your vote matters! #PassItOn #expat #yourvotematters #ReferendumReady