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British expat voter registration deadline looms

Kristen Allen · 19 Apr 2010, 15:21

Published: 19 Apr 2010 15:21 GMT+02:00

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The roughly 100,000 Britons, as well as 60,000 British troops and their dependants who live in Germany and have been registered to vote in the UK in the last 15 years are eligible to vote from abroad for the May 6 election, British Embassy spokesperson Julius Schellmann told The Local.

Those who may have been too young to register before they moved abroad can still do so if a parent or guardian has been registered in the last 15 years.

Not much time is left before the April 20 deadline, but anyone who needs assistance with their registration can contact the British Embassy directly, Schellmann told The Local. The main registration method is online, though the embassy also offers telephone and mail services.

“All of the necessary information can be found on our website,” he said.

According to the UK’s independent elections watchdog, the Electoral Commission, fewer than 14,000 of the 5.5 million Britons living abroad are registered to vote, a fact which spurred a large outreach campaign from the organisation to encourage expats to exercise their right to vote.

The embassy has also ramped up its efforts to inform expats of their democratic rights, Schellmann said, adding that the consular section had reported a “remarkable increase” in inquiries about voter registration in recent weeks.

“We will try to answer each inquiry as quickly as possible, though this is a bit difficult right now with the volcano situation happening simultaneously,” he said.

Story continues below…

But those registering to vote from abroad for the first time should look out for one point that has been the source of some confusion, Schellmann warned.

Registration forms must be witnessed by another UK citizen – and this cannot be an embassy or consulate staff member.

Related links:

Kristen Allen (kristen.allen@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

17:52 April 19, 2010 by mixxim
The application is designed to deter expats from voting, it must be signed by a British Citizen -living outside the UK- This requirement is said to avoid fraud. So an application may be signed by Taliban supporters training in Pakistan. (there is no need for them to live in the same country as the applicant - just not in the UK!) So my friends, family, doctor, etc cannot countersign because the Min of Justice thinks this would lead to fraudulent applications. I have pointed out this anomoly but there appears to be no will to reconsider it.
18:01 April 19, 2010 by The-ex-pat
Having been in Germany now for 12 years with a German, wife, children, house, dog and some fish, I realise that I have no desire what so ever to return to the UK no matter who is running it.....ever. I have voted in the last two elections as an ex-pat, but this time around I am putting my feet up, cracking a beer and watching. It interests me not a jot.
18:16 April 19, 2010 by mixxim
Our MPs are mostly criminals as reference to their expenses claims (shown on the Daily Telegraph internet site) prove.
20:12 April 19, 2010 by theladdie
Question.... There is a dead line to send the form in via mail. But with all this ash and grounded planes would my form get there on time... With the restriction always being extended I am not so sure!

And honestly! You can register online my arse! I can download the form thats it!

Oh and 20 clicks just to get the form I might add!
20:36 April 19, 2010 by biker hotel harz
MIxxim are you saying you don't have one Brit Expat friend?
10:41 April 20, 2010 by Essertpitay
I have just been on the weblink supplied above...and I have failed miserably...
13:11 April 20, 2010 by Kennneth Ingle
In 1960 I left England for the continent, believing (how naiv I was), what our political parties were saying about a new Europe to come, in which everybody would work together and have equal rights. By doing so, I have lost my right to vote for the government in Britain. At the same time, there is no right for me to vote for the government in Germany, because I remained a British citizen.

Turks on the other hand (from a land not in the EU), are coming to Germany and after passing through a language test, are receiving German Passports which allow them to vote here. There is little or no control to see whether they vote in their homeland as well.

It would seem that the more European one is, the less rights one has. Perhaps understandable in a Europe of nations, each one looking to see how much taxpayers money can be taken from the other members. A united Europe, where all pay the same taxes, social insurance and unemployment insurance seems further away today than it ever was.

Perhaps I am lucky not to have to vote for politicians who do not represent the people. At least I can say with a clear conscience: It is not my fault they were voted into power.
12:47 April 21, 2010 by Prufrock2010
Okay, it's Wednesday and the deadline has passed. Why is this compelling story still up?
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