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British expats in France urged to register to vote

Ben McPartland · 26 Feb 2014, 15:50

Published: 26 Feb 2014 15:50 GMT+01:00

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There are an estimated 5.5 million British expats living abroad including around 250,000 living in France, but only a tiny portion of them are registered to vote back home.

With the European elections just around the corner and next year’s General Election looming, the message from London is "It's your vote don't lose it!"

The British Government has launched an international campaign to encourage more expats to register to vote. Wednesday has been named as official Overseas Registration Day.

The government is hoping around 25, 000 expats will enrol on the elect register.

Samantha Mills, head of campaigns at the Electoral Commission said: "Estimates show that there may be as many as 5.5 million UK citizens living overseas, but the latest figures showed that there were only around 20,000 on the UK electoral registers.

"Many of those living overseas do not even know that they may be eligible to vote in some UK elections, so it's important that our campaign is as far-reaching as possible.”

VIDEO: ‘Minister Greg Clark urges British citizens living abroad to sign up to vote

British Citizens who have been registered to vote in the UK and have not spent more than 15 years abroad are eligible to vote in the General Election as well as European Elections and referendums.

Although expats will not be able to vote in the referendum on Scottish Independence which is being held in September.

Wednesday may be the official overseas registration day, voters have until May 6 to download, fill in and return the form, in order to be eligible to vote in the European elections.

Story continues below…

To download the form and to find out more information about voting you can visit the website www.aboutmyvote.co.uk

British expats in France are currently campaigning for the government to drop the 15-year rule, which means anyone who has lived abroad for longer than that time loses the right to vote.

For more information read  this article by France-based Brian Cave on why British expats should fight for the right to vote.

Ben McPartland (ben.mcpartland@thelocal.com)

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