EU referendum: ballots arriving

Ballot papers for postal voting in the UK’s EU referendum have been arriving in France – but one reader reports a problem with sending them back. 

The Connexion does not know how widespread this issue is, however a reader in the Charente told us her local post office was unfamiliar with the pre-paid franking used on the return envelopes (see image). 

The reader said postal workers told her they had received a number of envelopes from British voters in the area but did not know how to process them. 

The return envelope’s franking shows in French that return postage to Great Britain was paid. We will be checking with La Poste to find out if this is an isolated incident, but would like to hear from any readers who have also had a similar experience. 

An Electoral Commission spokeswoman said: “Postal votes going overseas are doing so with International Business Response Licences and therefore don't need additional postage. It is worth posting the return vote in a post box where possible [so the area sorting office will deal with it] to avoid confusion at a post office.” 

In the meantime, some Britons in France have already sent back ballots – meaning in this respect the referendum has already begun. 

If you have applied for a postal vote but do not shortly receive your ballot, it would be advisable to chase this up with your elections office in the UK sooner rather than later to see if solutions can be found. 

It may be possible to cancel and change for a proxy one, but this should only be a last resort – especially as the date for Northern Ireland voters to register for a proxy vote is tomorrow. 

If you have not registered to vote, it is now too late to register if you want to vote by post, but proxy options remain. Please note that you should not rely on still being registered and eligible for a postal vote after last year’s general election. Make sure you have had confirmation from your UK elections office of still being registered and an acknowledgement of your choice of a postal vote. 

For a standard proxy vote, final registrations online are by June 7 at Register to vote and the actual application to vote by proxy (the second stage) must be received by June 15 for voters who used to live in mainland Great Britain (this can be emailed back to elections offices but all parts of a scanned form, including the signature, must be clearly visible). 

It is also possible to request a ‘postal’ proxy vote, if your proxy in the UK (ie. a UK voter willing to vote for you) is not able to physically visit your old constituency to vote. However, the deadline to apply for this is June 8 in mainland Great Britain or June 3 in Northern Ireland. 

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