The deadline to register to vote as an overseas elector at the 2015 UK general election is fast approaching, with just days now left before the deadline to register on Monday 20 April.
Whilst that isn’t far away there is still time to register, even if you are far away and are living overseas. Although we would encourage you to do it now, before the deadline, so that those of you that are postal voters can get your ballot packs sent and returned in good time before polling day on 7 May.
At the Electoral Commission in the UK, with the help of our partners, we’ve been working to encourage UK citizens who live abroad to register since our campaign launched in early February.
Did you know that if you’ve been registered in the UK in the last fifteen years, you could register as an overseas voter to take part in the UK general election on Thursday 7 May? You can choose to vote either by post or by proxy (where you appoint someone you trust to vote on your behalf). But you can only do this if you are registered first, and you must do this by Monday 20 April at the latest to vote at this general election. And you can now register online here.
Since the introduction of the online application service, we’ve seen tens of thousands of British citizens logging on from overseas to register online.
Over 70,000 people have applied online from 196 different countries outside of the UK since February; from all around the world, people are signing up; from Argentina to Zambia. This is really brilliant to see, but we know that there are still more people out there who could do the same but haven’t got around to doing it yet. In fact, you might even know a few, so please pass the message on to friends, family or colleagues.
With just days now left, we are busily reminding UK based voters that the registration deadline is just around the corner. But as I’ve mentioned, for UK citizens overseas, we need to highlight that the urgency is even greater as you still need to make sure that there’s time to return postal or proxy application forms too.
But don’t let this put you off. The new online system has shown to work exceptionally well with reports from the Cabinet Office stating a user satisfaction rate of over 90%. For UK citizens who are living overseas in particular, the online application process means that taking the first step is easier than before, removing the need to download and post off the application form. You can submit your details and apply to register in a few minutes rather than a few days (or even weeks)!
This really is the last chance to register for the 2015 UK general election, so please go online at www.gov.uk/register-to-vote today and make sure you don’t miss the boat. Take the opportunity to take part if you can. Remember – Your vote matters.
Megan Phillips, Communications Officer