UK May Ease Restrictions On Expat Voters

By Fiona Moore, for 01 June, 2015

The UK Government has announced that it will introduce a Votes for Life Bill, which may in the future expand upon the voting rights of UK expats.

Currently votes may be cast in UK elections by British, Irish, and Commonwealth citizens aged 18 or over if they are resident in the UK. UK nationals resident overseas may also vote if they have been abroad for less than 15 years.

During the May general election, this restriction on expat voting was called into question, with some saying it effectively disenfranchises expats who have lived abroad for more the 15 years. Some eligible expat voters have also claimed they were prevented from voting due to administrative failings.

The Bill will address these issues by extending voting rights to all British citizens living abroad and by establishing an efficient system for both registration and voting.

This Bill will not be enacted in time for the upcoming EU referendum, scheduled for 2017.

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