News article

UK expats encouraged to register to vote before EU Referendum

UK Electoral Commission and British High Commission call on UK expats living in Australia to register to vote ahead of the EU Referendum.

In support of the Electoral Commission’s Overseas Voter Registration Day on 4 February, British High Commissioner Menna Rawlings urged British people living in Australia to register sooner rather than later so they don’t miss the opportunity to vote.

Mrs Rawlings said:

Australia has the largest British expat community in the world, with over 1.1 million Britons residing here. But many people are unaware that it’s possible to register online as an overseas voter for certain UK elections, including the upcoming EU Referendum.

Interest in the referendum is very high, which is why we’re urging UK nationals to take five minutes today to visit gov.uk/register-to-vote, check if they can take part and, if so, register to vote from wherever they are in Australia.

British Nationals living abroad who have been registered to vote in the UK in the last 15 years may be eligible to vote.

Once registered, overseas voters can choose how they wish to vote – by post, by proxy (appointing a trusted friend or family member to vote on your behalf) or in-person if they will be in their UK constituency on polling day.

As registrations have to be renewed every year, voters who were registered for the 2015 General Election should visit the website as they may need to register again.

To register to vote UK citizens should visit www.gov.uk/register-to-vote.

Notes to editors

  • Overseas Voter Registration Day is an initiative of the UK Electoral Commission to encourage British Nationals living overseas to register to vote. At the 2015 General Election there were almost 106,000 overseas voters on the UK electoral registers, but this represents a fraction of the 5.5 million UK citizens estimated to be living overseas and potentially eligible to vote at the EU Referendum.

  • The referendum is due to take place by 31 December 2017. The question, in line with advice from the Electoral Commission, will be: ‘Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union?’ See here for more information.

  • The Electoral Commission is an independent body set up by the UK Parliament, with the responsibility of regulating party and election finance and setting standards for well-run elections.