Brits overseas: will our votes count?

David Cameron has championed the right to vote for Brits abroad Credit: David Cameron/fb

Euro Weekly News readers are questioning whether the promise of British expatriates being able to vote in the forthcoming UK elections is a little precarious.

When applying for a postal vote, some keen overseas voters were advised by local UK councils that the ballot would not be sent out until the June 24.  Allowing for the slow passage of post to the UK and back, this means there is a tight window for votes being received in time to count in this important election; around nine days for the pack to arrive in Spain and be received back in the UK.

David Cameron, UK Foreign Secretary

As part of the Conservative’s election campaign, David Cameron, UK Foreign Secretary, pledged to appoint a minister for British expatriates in order to promote their interests.

The Conservatives affirmed that citizens living overseas still had an important interest in how the UK operates and should have the right to vote.  After the Elections Act in 2022, the party introduced ‘votes for life’ for British expatriates.

David Cameron stated that Brits living overseas often maintain strong ties to the UK – “Britons living overseas are flying the flag for Britain abroad and nearly all of them retain a strong interest in the UK. Conservatives will ensure they have a strong voice in Government.”

Jane Golding, British in Europe

Jane Golding, co-chair of the campaign group British in Europe, said: ‘Voting is a basic citizenship right regardless of where someone lives.  This is a historic change to the UK franchise after years of campaigning by ourselves and others, particularly long-term campaigner Harry Shindler, who sadly died before he could use his hard-won vote.”

Will our votes count?

Prior to 2015, the number of overseas voters never rose above 35,000; levels were boosted following a registration campaign leading up to the 2015 general election and increased interest ahead of the 2016 Brexit referendum.  However, some are wondering if their votes will count at all.

Mallorca resident Louise Cook said – “For the first time in nearly 20 years, I am finally eligible to vote. It may be for the UK elections and I live in Mallorca (still cannot vote in Spanish national elections), which is not entirely logical, nevertheless the fact that I am finally able to exercise my democratic right is important to me.  Fingers crossed the local postal service is operating slightly more efficiently than usual and it arrives in time.”

Thank you for taking the time to read this article. Do remember to come back and check The Euro Weekly News website for all your up-to-date local and international news stories and remember, you can also follow us on Facebook and Instagram.

Written by

Trelawney Bresic

Trelawney is a journalist and screenwriter. She began her career at the Euro Weekly News twenty years ago and is passionate about honest and compelling journalism. If you have a news story, don't hestitate to get in touch at editorial@euroweeklynews.com

Comments


    • John McLean

      03 July 2024 • 08:12

      Well it’s one day to the election and my ballot paper has still not arrived.

      Reply
      • J mason

        04 July 2024 • 11:25

        Ours haven’t either. But neither have my husbands Father’s Day or birthday cards!

        Reply
    • Linda Robertson

      03 July 2024 • 08:55

      It is absolutely wrong that a British person residing in a foreign country should be allowed to vote in a general election in the UK. If a person chooses to live in, lets say, Spain, that is this persons choice of residence and if they wants to vote then vote in your new country if they will allow you to do so. Different if your on holiday then a postal vote should be ok.

      Reply
      • John McLean

        03 July 2024 • 11:24

        I live in Spain but have a government pension so have to pay tax in the UK on it and tax in Spain on my old age pension so why should I not have a vote

        Reply
        • D Russell

          04 July 2024 • 10:59

          Exactly

          Reply
      • D Russell

        04 July 2024 • 10:57

        UK EU citizenship rights were removed without having a vote, pension ages were increased without a vote as to who make these decisions on our behalf. Subject to UK taxes in certain circumstances. I agree that we shouldn’t vote in local elections, but General Elections and Referendums that effect every British citizen should stand.

        Reply
      • J mason

        04 July 2024 • 11:27

        But as lifelong British citizens the decisions of the Uk government affect us enormously, eg Brexit. We also pay tax in the UK for the privilege.

        Reply
    • Paul

      03 July 2024 • 08:59

      I’m sorry but why should expats get to vote in the UK Election? When I lived out of the country my UK ability to vote was not allowed. After two years I could vote in the country where I was a resident.

      Reply
      • John McLean

        03 July 2024 • 11:25

        Expats do not get a vote in Spain

        Reply
    • Tony

      03 July 2024 • 09:13

      We left Spain to go to UK on holiday on the 24th June so obviously haven’t received them. Probably sitting in our letter box as I write. Why couldn’t the papers have been sent out earlier? Tony allow for people being away. This will be the first time I will have missed a vote.

      Reply
    • Martin Carter

      03 July 2024 • 09:17

      Since my move to Spain in 2014 I have always had a Proxy vote. Forget the post.

      Reply
    • Paul Wilkinson

      03 July 2024 • 10:13

      It is ridiculous to send out the postal kit on 24 th June in time to be returned by the 4th July. The postal system in Spain is rubbish and they only deliver to me once they have pile of letters. I receive post once every 2 to 3 weeks so it’s not going to work.

      Reply
    • Peter Dare

      03 July 2024 • 11:37

      I registered correctly but probably due to the fiestas here in Spain I only received the form to vote on Saturday morning. I rushed to the post office on Monday morning but doubt whether it will arrive on time. To answer some of the critics – I served in the British forces and paid into and receive a pension from the UK. why shouldn’t I be allowed to vote?

      Reply
      • John McLean

        03 July 2024 • 14:18

        You are like me, paying tax in the UK so we are entitled to vote in the UK

        Reply
    • Martin Robinson

      03 July 2024 • 13:11

      After registering in February and confirming our postal vote intentions in April & receiving confirmation from our UK council’s electoral team, neither my wife nor I received our votes! 🙁

      Reply
    • Martin Robinson

      03 July 2024 • 13:17

      All my correspondences re postal elections were done efficiently & quickly on-line.
      If Estonia can successfully use on-line voting, surely UK should wake up to the fact we are now well into the 21st century & start on-line voting too?
      AND it’s about time we immigrants (or ex-pats) had dedicated MP(s) too – France has 11 I believe!

      Reply
    • John Young

      03 July 2024 • 17:09

      Now being Resident, including for Tax, in Spain I would be quite happy not to vote in Great Britain . Perhaps if they withdraw the right they will also stop the requirement for me to pay UK Tax under the double taxation scheme. Don’t think so somehow !

      Reply
    • Trixie Miller

      03 July 2024 • 19:50

      We live in Spain but also pay some tax in the UK. We organised a proxy vote easily online. So our votes WILL count.

      Reply

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