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Why do so few UK expats vote?

With the UK’s time limit on expat voting back in the news, Connexion is keen to hear if readers have registered

THE QUESTION of whether or not the UK’s 15-year limit on expat voting should be extended is under debate in the House of Commons – yet very few of the millions of British expats are actually registered to vote anyway.

Connexion is interested to hear from readers who are not registered, even though they could be, as to why this is – and equally, if you do register why it is important to you. We will be looking at the issue again in January’s edition of the newspaper.

Lord Norton of Louth recently spoke up on the issue in the House of Lords debate, saying that though there are probably three million Britons abroad who are still eligible to vote only about 20-30,000 are actually on the electoral register. It is “an appallingly low percentage,” (probably fewer than 1%) he said.

He said he thought the higher take up by other countries’ expats (more than a million French expats are on electoral lists) might be partly down to government policies. “Many nations treat their citizens abroad as a major asset and actively sollicit their engagement”, whereas UK expats are “an untapped asset”, he said.

If you have been living outside the UK for less than 15 years – and therefore are still eligible to vote in UK national elections – we would like to hear why you have not registered. Perhaps,

• You did not know that you could?

• You have tried to register but found it complicated or the registration failed?

• You do not feel involved enough in the UK to be interested?

As mentioned, if however you have registered, we would like to know the reason why it is important to you.

Please send comments to: news[at]

DID YOU KNOW? It is now possible to register to vote online at: Register to vote Once you are registered the Electoral Commission says you will be sent a form once a year to confirm you are still an eligible overseas voter, otherwise you will be removed from the register. Until this year full annual re-registration was necessary.

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