[quote_box_left]2,600 Ex-Pats Registering Per Day, In “Less Time Than It Takes To Make A Cup Of Tea”[/quote_box_left]
The announcement of June 23rd as the date for the Referendum on the UK’s membership of the European Union has triggered a surge in the numbers of British expats wanting to register to vote.
Latest figures show the average daily rate of online registrations by Britons abroad has quadrupled from an average of just over 600 per day before the announcement of the referendum date last weekend, to more than 2600 per day since then.
The Electoral Commission has launched a global campaign to encourage an estimated five million Britons living overseas to check their eligibility to vote ahead of the referendum on EU membership. The British Ambassador Simon Manley, visiting Malaga on Tuesday said “Whether you think the UK should remain in or leave the EU, the 23rd of June will be your chance to have your say. This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity for the British people to decide.”
If you have been on the UK electoral roll within the last 15 years, you are eligible to vote. The electoral commission’s latest marketing promises that online registration is a simple process, quicker than making a cup of tea.
The British Embassy in Madrid is backing a global campaign by the Electoral Commission to encourage Britons who live overseas to register to vote.
Some 283,000 Britons are registered on the padrón as resident in Spain, but just 11,000 are registered to vote in the UK. So the vast majority of expats will miss out on having their say in the referendum – unless they take a few simple steps.
To register as an overseas voter, you must have been registered in a UK constituency within the last 15 years. All you have to do is visit www.gov.uk/register-to-vote with your passport details and National Insurance number to hand, and the postcode of where you last lived in the UK
You can choose how you want to vote: by post, by proxy (voting by appointing someone you trust to vote on your behalf), or even in person if by chance you will be in your UK local authority area on polling day.
All it takes is five minutes to register. And because overseas voters must allow enough time for their ballot paper to be posted from the UK, you should do it now rather than wait for the final deadline, at which point it may be too late to use a postal vote effectively.
Postal ballot papers will be despatched about a month ahead of the referendum – earlier than for the General Election last year – giving overseas voters more time to receive, complete, and return their ballot pack to the UK.
How you can register to vote in the EU Referendum
Step by step guide
- A referendum on the UK’s membership of the European Union will be held on June 23rd 2016.
- If you were registered to vote in the UK within the last 15 years, then you can register as an overseas voter and have your say.
- Go to www.gov.uk/register-to-vote and fill in your data. All you need is your National Insurance number, passport details and date of birth. (Even if you don’t have an NI number, you can still register.)
- Choose how you want to vote – by post, proxy, or even in person if you will be in the UK on polling day. If you choose to vote by post, ballot forms will be despatched about one month ahead, giving you time to receive, complete and return your vote to the UK.
- Do register early, so you have done it well before the referendum date is announced. If you wait, you may miss your chance to have your say.
- Just as in the UK, you need to register annually. So if you registered as an overseas voter for last year’s General Election, you need to renew your registration for the EU vote.
- Out of 283,000 Britons officially resident in Spain, just 11,000 were registered to vote in last year’s General Election. Many British expats could miss out on the EU referendum, so tell your friends and family to register too.
- To Register and for more information goto the government website at