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Votes for Life Update

British citizens who have lived outside the UK for over 15 years are finally getting their vote back. This is what you will have to do!

British In Europe Update

The main team at British in Europe have been busy as always on the “Votes for Life” campaign. They are working with UK Government Departments, the Electoral Commission, the Association of Electoral Administrations (AEA), political parties and others. The 15-year restriction on voting for British Nationals living overseas will end.

The final hurdle for the secondary legislation was signed off by the minister on 18th December 2023. This will allow new voter registration to start on 16th January 2024 . UK Government departments, the electoral commission and others are all working to this date.

Key Messages

Potentially an extra 3+ Million British Citizens living overseas will be able to vote from 16th January 2024. The Electoral Administrators are going to be busy. The next General Election date is not fixed at the time of writing (early December 2023). It must take place no later than 28 January 2025. So here are some key messages:

Renew

If you are already able to vote now, and need to renew your registration within the next six months, then please ensure you renew everything BEFORE 16th January 2024.

Update

Registered voters who moved recently should update their contact details online. This will allow the electoral registration officer to contact you. If you currently have a Postal Vote, set up a Proxy Vote instead with a trusted friend or relative.

Register

If you are not yet registered, but have lived outside the UK for less than 15 years, register to vote now – don’t wait until after 16th January 2024.

If you are not on the electoral roll, and have lived outside the UK for more than 15 years, try and hunt down that documentation over Christmas that proves your previous registration in the UK (e.g. council tax bill etc, etc). Do NOT try and register before 16th January 2024.

More publicity will follow over the coming weeks. In the meantime, put 16th January 2024 in your diary.

Postal Voting

There are well-documented issues with the post between the UK and Austria and vice-versa.

Postal ballots cannot be sent out until around 6 working days before the election. This will be an insufficient time for them to be delivered to Austria and returned in time.

We recommend setting up a Proxy Vote online, possible until up to 11 days before the election. We have recently been advised that these will also need to be renewed AFTER 31st January 2024 if they were set up before.

Useful Links

British in Austria Votes for Life Main Page

UK Gov Register to Vote

UK Gov Proxy Voting

British in Europe Votes for Life Campaign

Electoral Commission Proxy Votes

Electoral Commission Overseas Voters

Parliament Overseas Voters Research Briefing

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keithjd

By Keith Davies

Originally from Wales, lived in Kent, worked around the world and now live in Niederösterreich (Lower Austria). Member of the British in Austria team.

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