The UK Government is proposing the removal of the 15 year limit on voting rights for British citizens living overseas.
This would mean that any British citizen living abroad who has previously lived in, or been registered to vote in the UK would have the right to vote at UK Parliamentary elections.
The proposals also extend the registration period for overseas voters. Currently overseas voters are required to register to vote every year. The changes would require them to register every three years, and to refresh their application to vote by post or proxy at the same time.
Anyone who is registered to vote in the UK can make donations to political parties and campaigners. Extending voting rights to more British citizens living overseas would allow these new voters to donate to political parties and campaigners.
Our research following the 2019 UK general election, and in previous years, found that some overseas voters experienced difficulty voting from overseas.
Many did not have enough time to receive and return their postal vote before the close of the poll, which meant their votes could not be counted.
As a result of this proposal, a large number of new overseas voters could be added to the electoral register, and so more people will be affected by these issues.
To help support these voters in having their say, the UK Government should consider new approaches to improve voting for overseas voters, using evidence from other countries.
This could include the option to vote at embassies and consulates, or to download and print postal ballot papers.
Extending the registration period for overseas voters would make it simpler for voters to stay registered.
It would reduce the administrative impact on electoral services teams at local councils, who currently process a large number of registrations every year, particularly in the run up to UK Parliamentary elections.