If you’re a UK citizen living overseas who has taken the all-important step of applying to register to vote, then you now need to think about actually casting your vote from abroad if you haven’t already done so. The postal vote application deadline has now passed so your only option is voting by proxy (appointing someone you trust to vote on your behalf). You can find out more information about that here.
As I will be away from home on polling day, I have also applied for a proxy to vote on my behalf. It may seem obvious, but the first thing I had to do was to find someone on the electoral register that I trust, who could vote for me at my polling station on 23 June. They had to be eligible to vote in the referendum. The only way that a proxy can vote now is in person at your polling station as the postal vote application deadline has passed. Fortunately I found a willing volunteer, which allowed me to then apply for the proxy vote. I simply printed off an application, completed it with my details and that of my appointed proxy, signed it and then scanned it before returning it to my local elections office (whose details I found at http://www.aboutmyvote.co.uk/). They confirmed that my proxy application had been successful and that she would receive a proxy poll card that states which polling station she should go to, to vote on my behalf. Finally, I told her how I would like her to vote for me on the day.
As I work at the Electoral Commission I knew exactly what I had to do, but we know that sometimes UK citizens living overseas don’t realise that they will have to apply for an absent vote separately to their registration. In fact we know this because we asked some of the estimated 5.5 million UK citizens living overseas how many steps there are in the registration and voting process. Out of over 4700 respondents, only 46% realised that there is a two-step process involved in taking part in polls. However you don’t need to wait for your registration to be confirmed before applying for a proxy vote.
If you have already registered to vote at a local authority in Great Britain, but you haven’t already chosen how to vote, then you should apply for a proxy vote by 5pm, 15 June. There’s no time to be lost though, so make sure you can take part and make your proxy application today.
Senior Communications Officer