France first for election sign-ups

France tops the list for UK expats signed up to register to vote via the easy new online system brought in last year

29 March 2015

MORE expats in France have signed up to vote in the UK general election than expats in any other country since a new online registration system was opened last year.

The Electoral Commission says 9,936 applications have been completed online by French residents, compared to 9,229 in the USA, 7,206 in Germany, 6,015 in Spain and 3,501 in Australia (the other countries with the largest numbers registered).

Connexion has been supporting the commission in its campaign to get more expats registered.

The commission set itself a goal of 100,000 expats registered by the general election on May 7. This compares to 33,000 at the time of the last one in 2010.

However only around half that number were on the UK’s registers last summer when we first reported on the new system, which has made it much quicker and easier to register.

You can still apply to take part in the election, but time has almost run out.

Please note that making sure you are registered – as long as you have not been out of the UK for more than 15 years – is not only the only way to have a postal or proxy ballot as an overseas voter, but will also be part of the criteria for taking part in any future referendum on the UK’s EU membership.

You need your passport number and National Insurance number and you should visit Register to Vote.

Taking part in the elections is a two-step process – once registered you must also send in a paper form opting for either a postal or proxy vote.

Registration is not immediate on completing the online application – it requires an officer at the council where you used to vote to actually register you. Only then can they process your application for a voting method.

However you do not need to wait for confirmation of being registered to send this paper application in. A form will be emailed to you once you have completed the registration application online and they can also be found at Voting from abroad.

Do not assume that you are still registered from a previous occasion, as it is likely you have since come off the register.

Photo: Mgimelfarb only

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