The British Electoral Commission has set an ambitious target of persuading 100,000 British expats to join the UK voting register ahead of the general election on 7th May.
As of March 2014, only 15,849 of the estimated 5.5 million Brits living overseas were signed up to vote in UK elections, and a recruitment drive aimed at adding 25,000 expats to the voters’ roll in the weeks leading up to last May’s European and local elections saw just 7,079 signing up.
On a blog published on the Electoral Commission’s website last week, the organisation outlined just who is eligible to register to vote, and was at pains to stress how simple it is to do so.
“In order to register you must have been previously registered in a UK constituency within the last 15 years,” the blog explained.
“If you were too young when you left the UK to have been registered, then you can register as an overseas voter if your parents (or guardians) were registered in the UK in the last 15 years.
Now with online registration, filling in the application form takes approximately five minutes, and can be done from wherever you have an internet connection. All you need is your National Insurance number and your date of birth. If you don’t have your National Insurance number you can still register, but you may be asked for some extra information by your Electoral Registration Officer.”
Alex Robertson, director of communications at the Electoral Commission, said: “A lot of people aren’t aware that it’s possible to register as an overseas voter for the general election. We need to challenge the misconception that once you’ve moved overseas you can’t take part. Many people can and now it’s easier than ever to take the first step by going online.”
To register, visit: https://www.gov.uk/register-to-vote