IT IS estimated that only about 1% of eligible UK expats are actually registered to vote in British elections (if you are one of the many who are not registered, please click this link now to take our quick survey, in partnership with the UK’s Electoral Commission, about reasons why : Voting survey).
All British citizens remain eligible to vote in UK national and European elections for 15 years after moving abroad. The government is considering ending this time limit but opponents point to the low take-up so far to claim that expats are simply not interested.
However many expats do retain close links with the UK and may still be paying taxes to Britain, own property there or be eligible for a British state pension. Another reason to register is that only registered voters are expected to be able to take part in any possible referendum on the UK leaving the EU – a move which, as we explained in December’s issue of the newspaper, could have far-reaching consequences for expatriates.
As of this year the simplest way to register is online – for full details visit: Register to vote.
You need your National Insurance number and registration takes about five minutes.
It is no longer necessary to have another British person countersign the application, and it is no longer necessary to renew every year – though the Electoral Commission says you will be sent a form each year to send back confirming you are still overseas and eligible to vote.
An overseas voter may only register in the constituency where they were last registered to vote.