Britons in France urged to register to vote as UK deadline approaches

Overseas voters need to register to cast absent vote by post or proxy

You can register to vote online
Published Last updated

British citizens living in France and elsewhere abroad will be able to vote in the upcoming general election on July 4. Due to a rule change earlier this year this now applies to all Britons regardless of how much time they have spent outside the country. 

However, they must be signed up to the electoral register by 23:59 on Tuesday June 18 to be able to vote in the July election. Unless planning to be in the UK they will also need to then apply for a postal or proxy vote (at this stage proxy is likely to be the only viable way if you have done nothing yet).

The changes come after the previous 15-year rule – which meant anyone living outside the UK for an extended length of time could no longer vote in domestic elections – was abolished. 

Read more: Historic victory as UK voter registration opens to all Britons abroad

How do I register to vote? 

Information on registering as an overseas voter can be found on the official UK government website.

It claims that registering usually takes around five minutes. You will need information including passport details or proof of identity, UK National Insurance number, and a previous address in the UK (or to show that you were previously eligible to vote in the UK). 

Further information on registering – including irregular circumstances and for young adult children of Britons abroad – can be found in our article below, 

Read more: Britons in France can vote in July 4 UK election - here is how

How can I cast my vote?

In addition to registering to vote if you live overseas, you will also need to register for one of the two methods for an absentee ballot.

People living abroad can either use a postal or proxy vote, both of which can be applied for online

The deadline to apply for a postal vote is 17:00 on June 19, and for a proxy is 17:00 June 26. 

We note that time is now tight for UK councils to send out their overseas ballots.

The Electoral Commission state on their website that proxy voting “may be a preferred option for anyone living further afield who is concerned about how long it might take to receive and return a postal vote.”

If you wish to cast a postal vote, you can call your local constituency to see when postal ballots will be sent out, as well as when they will need to be returned to the UK. Some readers report being told that ballots were sent out on June 13.

You can find your local authority details on the Electoral Commission website, using the postcode of the last place you lived/were registered to vote (or are registered to vote now).

If you cannot find a proxy who can vote in person for you, another option is for your proxy to apply to vote by post in the UK for you.

Finally, if the election approaches and your postal ballot has not arrived, it has in the past been possible in some cases to organise an 'emergency proxy vote' by contacting the local council.