3 Million UK Expats Could Alter the Course of the 2015 Election
The UK general election may be in the far off and forgettable future, but for the government every minute from now in 2015 counts, and every voter could mean the difference between victory and defeat.
UK expats may have thought they’d left UK politics far behind when they moved abroad for work or retirement but the government certainly hasn’t forgotten them.
Of the millions of UK nationals living abroad an estimated 20,000 are still registered to vote, despite UK residents being eligible to vote up to 15 years after leaving Britain.
Consequently, this year the government is intending to launch a massive drive in order to track down UK expats and encourage them to put their names on the electoral role in time to vote.
According to The Independent the Electoral Commission is devising an online campaign which will be geared towards people living abroad but using email accounts which had been set up in the UK.
Similarly, anyone looking up British politics will be sent a reminder to register, while adverts will be featured on the BBC news website and placed in popular expat online/physical publications.
Of the estimated 4.5 – 5.5 million Britons living abroad roughly 3 million are entitled to cast a vote in UK elections, a figure which prompted Conservative MP Geoffrey Clifton-Brown to state: ‘It is pretty poor that these people are disenfranchised. If three million people were disenfranchised for a particular reason in this country, there would be an awful row about it.’
The main countries the Electoral Commission will be focusing on initially include Canada, New Zealand, Australia, Germany, the USA, South Africa and the United Arab Emirates, so if you’re a UK expat living in one of these nations and you comply with the voting rules (listed below) expect to be contacted and encouraged to vote in the UK election.
If you’re planning to ignore the prompts remember, you might not be living in the UK anymore but you undoubtedly have friends and family that are so your vote could make a big difference to them. Furthermore, as the ongoing global economic crisis has shown, the actions of individual governments have widespread implications. By taking an interest and casting a vote you could make a big difference!
In order to vote in the UK election you must:
- Have lived in the UK in the past 15 years
- Vote in the constituency where they were last on the electoral roll.