4 February 2016 is being heralded as Overseas Voter Registration Day.
The British Embassy is supporting a global campaign lead by the Electoral Commission to encourage UK nationals to register to vote as early as possible, ahead of the EU Referendum.
Out of the 5.5 million UK citizens living overseas, just over 100,000 registered to vote in the 2015 UK Parliamentary Election. Many expats don’t realise they are eligible to vote in the UK whilst living overseas, missing out on having their say in the future direction of their country.
Overseas Voter Registration Day is being marked all over the globe to encourage UK citizens living overseas to register their vote.
Deputy Head of Mission, Martyn Roper, leading the campaign forward in China, stated:
Our aim is to ensure that as many UK nationals as possible across China realise they are eligible to vote and to encourage them to register now, ahead of the EU referendum.
Here are five things that UK nationals need to know about registering as an overseas voter:
UK nationals who have been registered to vote in the UK within the last 15 years can register as an overseas elector, to be able to vote in UK Parliamentary General Elections, UK-wide referendums, and European Parliamentary elections.
It is important to remember that if you are not registered, you can’t vote in the referendum on the UK’s membership of the European Union when it takes place.
You will need to know your National Insurance number and date of birth, and have your passport to hand, if you have one. If you don’t have a National Insurance number you can still register, but you may have to supply more information to show who you are.
You have to sign an annual declaration once you are registered to vote to renew your registration every year. So if you were registered to vote for the 2015 General Election, you will have to renew your registration or register again.
You can choose how you wish to vote. You can vote by post, by proxy (voting by appointing someone you trust to vote on your behalf), or even in person at your polling station should you be returning back to the UK. If you choose to vote by post, remember to allow enough time for the documentation to be sent to you from the UK and for you to send it back.
Finally, 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!