UK Expats #YourVoteMatters in the EU referendum

High Commissioner Ric Todd EU Referendum
British High Commissioner Ric Todd to expats in Cyprus: Your vote matters!

THE REFERENDUM to determine whether the UK remains part of the EU is due to take place before the end of 2017. There are as many as 5.5m UK citizens living overseas who may have views on the matter but may not know if they are eligible to take part, and if so how to do this.

Who can vote?

To be able to vote you need to have been registered to vote in the UK in the last 15 years, know your National Insurance number, and have your passport to hand (if you don’t have a National Insurance number you can still register, but you may have to supply more information to show who you are).

If you were too young when you left the UK to have been registered, then you can register as an overseas voter if your parents (or guardians) were registered in the UK in the last 15 years.

How can I register?

You can now register online It takes five minutes and you can choose to vote via post; proxy (you designate someone you trust to vote on your behalf in the UK); or in person at a polling station in your constituency (but of course if you live overseas you’re unlikely to be able to do this).

With the date of the referendum as yet unknown, it’s best to register sooner rather than later so you can be sure you’re registered in time. If you are not registered you can’t vote.

You can still download and post back paper forms. But remember to return your completed form as far in advance of the deadline as possible. The actual deadlines for registering to vote and applying for an absent vote will be set once the date of the referendum is known.

How easy is it to register?

Work was carried out ahead of the 2015 UK Parliamentary General Election to reach British citizens abroad. This work increased the number of overseas electors by 300% and also taught us a lot. One thing we learnt was that the sooner overseas voters get registered to vote, the more time they have to arrange for a method of absent voting. It should be easier to vote by post for this referendum as the timetable for postal votes has been extended to allow theses to be sent out even earlier than usual, giving you a bit more time to receive, complete, and return your ballot.

Ric Todd

Further reading

UK Expats #YourVoteMatters in the referendum on the UK’s membership of the EU

Register to vote

Online voter registration (have your National Insurance number or your passport if you’re a British Citizen living abroad)