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UK expats – don’t miss out, you may be able to vote in the General Election

Published: 5 May 2017

Today the UK Electoral Commission has launched a day of dedicated activity to encourage UK citizens living overseas to register to vote ahead of the UK Parliamentary General Election on Thursday 8 June.

With just over one month until the election, the Commission is advising UK expats to register sooner rather than later, to be sure they are registered in time to have their say. Expats can now apply to register online in just a few minutes at www.gov.uk/register-to-vote

At the 2015 General Election there were almost 106,000 overseas voters on the register, three times the number on the register ahead of the previous poll in 2010. Last year, the record was surpassed and there were nearly 264,000 registered overseas voters at December 2016.

Craig Westwood, Director of Communications at the Electoral Commission said:

“At the 2016 EU Referendum, local authorities received 5,143 late registration applications from overseas voters. We don’t want anyone to lose their voice this polling day. Expats who are eligible to vote in the UK should register now, and once registered should apply to vote by proxy, which means nominating someone you trust to vote for you. This will give peace of mind as it means not needing to worry about ballot papers arriving and returning via the post in time to be counted at the election.”

Electoral Commission advice for British citizens abroad:

  • To register to vote, UK citizens should visit https://www.gov.uk/register-to-vote
  • To register as an overseas voter, UK residents overseas must have previously been registered in a UK constituency within the last 15 years.
  • Once registered in Great Britain, overseas voters can then choose how they wish to vote. They can vote by post, by proxy (voting by appointing someone you trust to vote on your behalf), or even in person at their polling station if they will be in their UK local authority area on polling day.
  • Overseas voters registered to vote in Northern Ireland are unable to vote by post as ballot papers cannot be sent to an address outside of the UK and they should apply to vote by proxy.
  • The Commission recommends that overseas voters apply to vote by proxy due to the short administrative period. To do so they will need to complete a proxy vote application form and send it to the Electoral Registration Officer at their local authority. Voters can print a form from www.gov.uk/voting-in-the-uk or contact their Electoral Registration Officer (ERO) to request a form in the post.
  • The contact details for each ERO can be found by entering a UK postcode on www.yourvotematters.co.uk


Interviewees are available. For further information contact Mazida Khatun in the Electoral Commission press office on 020 7271 0704 / out of office hours 07789 920 414 or mkhatun@electoralcommission.org.uk

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Notes to editors

The Electoral Commission is the independent body which oversees elections and regulates political finance in the UK. We work to promote public confidence in the democratic process and ensure its integrity by:

  • enabling the delivery of free and fair elections and referendums, focusing on the needs of electors and addressing the changing environment to ensure every vote remains secure and accessible
  • regulating political finance – taking proactive steps to increase transparency, ensure compliance and pursue breaches
  • using our expertise to make and advocate for changes to our democracy, aiming to improve fairness, transparency and efficiency

The Commission was set up in 2000 and reports to the UK and Scottish Parliaments.