The deadline is fast approaching for UK citizens living in China to register to vote in the EU Referendum, which is being held on 23 June. The latest statistics show that there are approximately 20,000 UK citizens resident in mainland China, with many more travelling to China on short term trips every year. However, according to a government report, in the first three months of this year less than 10% registered to vote.
Many do not realise that they can still vote in the UK even while overseas or do not know that they must re-register to vote every year. Earlier this year, the British Embassy in Beijing began supporting an Electoral Commission campaign aiming to ensure that as many people as possible have the chance to participate in the historic decision on the UK’s membership of the European Union.
As part of the campaign, May 10 2016 will be heralded as Overseas Voter Registration Day. Marked all over the globe, UK citizens resident overseas will be encouraged to register to vote before it is too late. UK citizens can choose to vote by post or by proxy and all that is needed is a National Insurance number, date of birth and passport, in some cases.
UK citizens living overseas are being encouraged to register before 16 May, if they wish to register to vote by post. If individuals wish to register to vote by proxy, registration can continue up to 27 May.
Deputy Head of Mission, Martyn Roper, leading the campaign in China, said:
The referendum on membership of the EU is a vital decision for the future of our country. UK citizens living in China are able to have their say so I encourage them to register before 16 May.
Overseas Voter Registration Day is also the perfect opportunity for expats to encourage other UK national friends, family or colleagues to go online to register. Everybody’s vote matters! #ovrd #UKexpats #PassItOn #YourVoteMatters