Voting rights of millions of Britons living abroad restored

More than three million British citizens living abroad have regained their right to vote in British general elections and referendums following the implementation of the Elections Act 2022, the Conservative Party said in a media statement.

“This represents the biggest increase in the British electoral franchise since the introduction of full female suffrage in 1928,” the statement said.

The statement said that as of January 16 2024, the arbitrary 15-year limit on voting rights has been scrapped and British citizens worldwide will be able to register to vote online regardless of how long they have been overseas.

This will be linked to the last UK address they were either registered to vote at or lived at.

On registration, they will now remain on the electoral roll for up to three years. After registration, electors will also be able to apply online for either a postal or proxy vote.

“Today’s enactment is the culmination of the ‘Votes for Life’ campaign, led by Conservatives Abroad – the British Conservative Party’s global network of members and supporters overseas,” the statement said.

To implement it the Representation of the People (Overseas Electors etc.) (Amendment) Regulations 2023 was tabled in the UK Parliament on October 23 2023, and after an affirmative vote, comes into place on January 16 2024.

This will allow the new overseas voter framework to fully come into effect, enfranchising an estimated 3.4 million additional overseas electors to whom the 15-year rule applies from among the over 5.6 million Britons living abroad.

The UK government website will be updated allowing for overseas voter registration using the new unrestricted rules. Electors will now remain on the Electoral Roll for three years. At the same time, the Electoral Commission will launch an extensive advertising campaign called ‘All Abroad!’ to encourage Britons based overseas to register to vote.

(Photo: Nick Manning)

The Sofia Globe staff

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