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Government delivers on pledge to give back British expats the right to vote

The government today published detailed plans on how it will deliver its commitment to allow all expats to vote in parliamentary elections.

 

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The Minister for the Constitution, Chris Skidmore, announced the policy statement which sets out how the government will remove the current 15-year time limit on British citizens who live abroad registering as overseas electors.

 

The changes would give all eligible British citizens who have lived in the UK a lifelong right to vote in parliamentary elections. It would mean all eligible overseas electors are able to register to vote quickly and easily, while maintaining the integrity of the electoral register and guarding against fraud.

 

Chris Skidmore, Minister for the Constitution, said:

This statement shows how we will introduce ‘votes for life’, scrapping the 15-year rule. British citizens who move abroad remain a part of our democracy and it is important they have the ability to participate. Following the British people’s decision to leave the EU, we now need to strengthen ties with countries around the world and show the UK is an outward-facing nation. Our expat community has an important role to play in helping Britain expand international trade, especially given two-thirds of expats live outside the EU.

 

Expats retain strong links with the United Kingdom: they may have family here, and indeed they may plan to return here in the future. Modern technology and cheaper air travel has transformed the ability of expats to keep in touch with their home country.

 

This proposed policy is the latest in a series of measures to make it easier for overseas voters to take part in British democracy. During the last Parliament, the government introduced online voter registration, making it quick, easy and secure to register anywhere in the world. The government also took steps to extend the electoral timetable for postal ballots to be issued earlier to ensure that as many electors as possible can participate in their democracy.

 

Read the policy statement on ‘A democracy that works for everyone: British citizens overseas’.

 

Source and more information: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-delivers-on-pledge-to-give-back-british-expats-the-right-to-vote

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Register Your Vote in the UK

February is the month to Register Your Vote in the UK. To do so, go to https://www.gov.uk/register-to-vote and register. You have to re-register each year otherwise you will not be included in the Electoral Roll. You will need to vote in person, appoint a proxy or obtain a postal vote. Proxy and postal voting are separate registrations. You are eligible to vote for 15 years after your departure from the UK at your last electoral roll address. Make sure that, if you do not receive an acknowledgement, you telephone your Local Council Electoral registration Officer to find out what has happened to your application. The only way to register is via the government website above. 

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Click here to sign Chris Madsen's  Petition to Extend the EU vote to all British citizens abroad

Did you know that UK members who live elsewhere in the world normally have a right to vote in all UK elections - national and local - as long as they are registered to do so? All they need to do is fill in a simple form. But after 15 years of residence abroad, this right is cancelled. That rule might not be unreasonable, in the case of a local council election, but in the recent referendum it prevented many of the very people whose lives would be most greatly affected from having a say in their own future.

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Yesterday the PETI Committee on Petitions of the European Parliament published a draft agenda.  Roger’s Petition concerning the Winter Fuel Payment is scheduled for closure by the Committee. Petition 0085/2015 agenda item 48. The agenda item states that this is based on an opinion from the Commission and other documents received.  Roger’s most recent submission showed clearly that the Commission’s opinion was wrong and full of errors, and yet someone in this important Committee of the European Parliament has decided not to continue. Many other Petitions show the number of supporting signatories - there is no such indication for Roger’s Petition.  At the latest count, there were 341 signatories supporting this Petition from several countries - not an insignificant number. Help increase this number by signing the petition now. 

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