Thursday 15th April 2010

As the May 6th UK general election rapidly approaches UK expatriates are being urged to register their votes to have their say in the future government of the UK. British expatriates throughout the world have just a few days remaining to register their intention to vote in the forthcoming election and the paperwork involved means that now is the time to act.

However, expatriates throughout the world are complaining that they don’t quite understand the processes involved. Here’s where we step in. Here’s our quick and easy guide to voting in the UK elections.

1) You are eligible to vote in the UK election if you have lived in the UK in the last 15 years and were on the electoral role during this time and your vote will be eligible in the constituency within which you were previously living. The only exception to this rule is people who were under 18 when they left the UK and were therefore previously unable to vote. Their votes will be eligible in the constituency within which their parents were previously living.

2) Expatriates will need to complete an application form to declare their intention to vote. In order to do this you will need to visit the “About my Vote” website and input the postcode of the last location at which you were registered to vote when you did live in the UK. If you were under 18 when you left the UK you will need to insert the postcode at which your parents lived. If you can’t remember the postcode you can select the relevant district from a drop down menu.

3) You will then presented with a PDF form that you will need to download and complete. At the bottom of the screen you will see details of the constituency to which you are required to post the completed form. When completing the form you will be required to confirm that you are a British citizen and will be requested to produce a counter signature from a witness. This witness also needs to be a British citizen living abroad and cannot be a relative.

4) On the application form you will be expected to confirm how you intend to vote. Two options are available to you, you can vote by post or vote by proxy. Those who opt to vote by post will be sent a ballot paper by post. They can simply select their voting option and post the ballot back using the return envelope. Those expatriates who choose to vote by proxy will be required to select a family member to vote on their behalf. This will mean downloading and completing a separate application form, which again will be posted to the relevant constituency address.

It is crucial that all British expatriates who wish to register as an overseas voter have their application in before the 20th April 2010. Any registrations received after this date will not be processed.

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