Expat Voters Left High And Dry In Election 2017


Thousands of expats have missed the election boat again – despite a standing Tory promise to scrap the 15-year poll ban.

Former Prime Minister David Cameron first delivered the pledge in 2011, but horse traded expats for political advantage in the Lib-Dem coalition.

Votes for all expats remained on the tantalisingly on the table in the next election and ministers have repeatedly confirmed the measure in answers to questions in Parliament.

But here we are six years down the line with a snap election in just a few weeks without any sign of expats having the vote.

And now the British expat population must wait and see if Prime Minister Theresa May follows Cameron with restating the manifesto pledge of previous years or simply leaves the prospect simmering on the back-burner.

Apply for a proxy vote

The rules say expats are entitled to vote in UK elections provided they have had their name listed on the electoral roll at some time during the past 15 years.

The Electoral Commission, the agency making sure of fair play in the polls, is calling for expats who are not registered to vote to get in touch online.

“Our advice for British citizens living overseas who are not sure whether there is enough time for a postal vote to be sent to them and returned to the UK by polling day, is that they should apply for a proxy vote,” said a spokesman.

A proxy vote involves asking someone else to take part in the election for you.

Expats can apply for a proxy vote on the grounds they will not be in the UK on polling day and ask a responsible person to certify their application.

100-seat majority for Tories?

The general election, on Thursday, June 8, 2017, is important for expats as Brexit issues such as the rights of British expats following March 2019 are hot political issues.

So is the campaign to unfreeze state pensions, which Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has indicated he will upgrade if he wins.

However. Labour woes are mounting as around 20 leading MPs have announced they will not stand for re-election.

The current polls suggest May will win a 100-seat majority if people cast their vote according to market researchers – but they have been wrong in many recent elections.

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