Are you ready to vote in EU elections?

As things stand British people are once again eligible to vote in the upcoming European Parliament elections – and those living in France less than 15 years can choose in which country they vote.

With Brexit having been put back to October 31 - but with a ‘flexible’ possibility of the UK leaving before if the deal is signed off - the country is set take part in the elections again next month. It means Britons in France will still be considered EU citizens and therefore should be eligible to vote in France.

Some Britons are this year opting to cast their vote in the UK in a context which sees Nigel Farage standing again for a new Brexit Party, declaring he wants to “teach them [Europe] a lesson” and – on the pro-Europe side – the new Independent Group also fielding candidates for the first time.

It comes also as the well-known pro-Brexit MP Jacob Rees-Mogg has stoked controversy saying that if the UK is going to remain longer in the EU, it should make itself “as difficult as possible”.

If you are not currently registered to vote in the UK as an overseas voter but you have been in France less than 15 years and were previously on the electoral list in a UK constituency before leaving, you have until May 7 to register to vote at the latest.

The best way is online at gov.uk/register-to-vote You should however do it as soon as possible and do not forget to also apply for a postal or proxy vote if you cannot vote in person in your old UK constituency.

If you have previously been registered as an overseas voter, you need to have kept up to date with annual renewals for this not to lapse. If you have previously asked for a ‘permanent’ choice of voting method this may also still be in place without doing anything, but it is best to check by telephoning the relevant local council and speaking to the elections service.

The alternative to voting in the UK (on May 23) – and you cannot legally do both – is to vote in France (on May 26) if you are registered here. If you voted at the last European elections in 2014 and have not moved then you should be still eligible to vote in France this time.

You may receive a new carte électorale in the post. New ones are sent out every few years and some mairies are getting new ones ready at present.

Note that if you have moved house since and did not register the change of address, you will not now be able to vote if you changed commune.

If however you are still in the same commune you may still be registered at your old address, so check with the mairie. If you remain on the lists you can vote in person with your voting card or identity document (passport). There is nonetheless a risk of them removing you from the lists if the address is out of date, so speak to them as a priority if you wish to vote.

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