British expats who have been registered to vote in UK within the last 15 years have until Tuesday 7 June to apply for a proxy vote in the EU Referendum.
That is the final deadline for registering to take part in one of the most historic decisions that the British people will make for a generation. The deadline for registering for a postal vote has now passed, but you can still appoint someone you trust in the UK to vote for you.
Simon Manley, British Ambassador to Spain, said:
Although the deadline for expats to vote by post in the EU referendum has now passed, you can still register to vote by proxy, as long as you do so by 7 June. We all know how important the referendum will be, for us, for our children, and for our country.
Whether you think we should leave or remain, I would encourage those who have not yet registered to vote, and who are eligible to do so, to avail themselves of this final opportunity to have their say on 23 June.
I am well aware that expats who have lived overseas for more than 15 years are ineligible, and I know that many are frustrated about that. The government will bring forward the Overseas Elector Bill to abolish this arbitrary time limit, but it must undergo full Parliamentary scrutiny and debate, so unfortunately it cannot be passed before the Referendum.
More than 120,000 people with Spanish IP addresses have now visited www.gov.uk/register-to-vote since the beginning of the year. And thanks to the online system, more than 180,000 expats worldwide have so far completed their registration, nearly double the number for last year’s General Election, itself a record figure.
The process is easy and takes just five minutes. Go to register to vote website or search for ‘UK register to vote’ on gov.uk. You only need your National Insurance number and passport. If you did vote in the general election last year, don’t assume you are still on the roll: just as in the UK, you must renew your registration every year. You have until 7 June to go online and make sure you can have your say.
If you were last on the electoral roll in Northern Ireland then you need to act quickly. The Electoral Office for Northern Ireland says that if you are appointing a proxy to vote at the EU Referendum, the deadline for sending in your printed application is 5.00pm on 3 June.