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Investigation into how British expats’ votes can miss UK election




Campaign groups New Europeans UK and Unlock Democracy have teamed up with the British Overseas Voters Forum for an investigation into how well the postal system will perform for Britons abroad voting in the UK General Election on 4 July.

It comes after the head of the British Overseas Voters Forum, Bruce Darrington, who lives in Bangkok, raised concerns about the reliability of the postal system in parts of Asia and other parts of the world. 

After speaking to many of their members, he fears that a high number of postal votes will not reach the UK in time for the votes of many Britons living overseas to count in the election.

Darrington said: “We believe that the postal vote process is unlikely to give people, in many or most countries around the world, enough time to complete the ballot in order to get it back before the count takes place. 

“For Britons abroad who are registered as a postal voter, we now want to use their experience as evidence of whether the postal vote works for the country where they live or work.” 

“The intention of the investigation is to make sure any issues with the postal system are recorded in order to suggest changes for future elections, such as the involvement of embassies and consulates in distributing and returning ballots to the UK.

“The more people take part in the investigation, the better a picture we will be able to form of where the postal system works well and where it might be failing. Hence we urge all Britons living abroad to help us by spending a few minutes recording when they received and posted their vote, or whether they received their ballot too late to be able to return it in time.”


Director of Unlock Democracy and former Liberal Democrat MP, Tom Brake, explained:  “At the moment, thousands of people could be putting their votes into post boxes around the world and thinking ‘job done’. But in reality their vote could be arriving in the UK weeks after polls have closed and never be counted.”

He added, “For any Britons abroad we are asking them to provide certain information which will be shared between the three organisations carrying out the investigation: British Overseas Voters Forum, Unlock Democracy, and New Europeans UK. It will help us investigate whether each vote arrived in time for it to actually be counted at the elections.”      

New Europeans UK and Unlock Democracy are running a joint campaign for the introduction of overseas constituencies in the UK to better represent Britons living abroad. Many countries of a not dissimilar size to the UK such as France and Italy have overseas constituencies. 

The campaign for overseas constituencies is supported by groups such as Bremain in Spain, Brexpats – Hear Our Voice, European Britons, the British Overseas Voters Forum, Liberal Democrats Abroad, and the True & Fair Party.

·         Anyone interested in taking part in the investigation is asked to email the information below to [email protected]:

·  First name

·  Surname

·  Country

·  Date Postal Vote (PV) Requested if known

·  Date PV Received

·  Date PV posted back

·  Local Authority which issued your PV

·  Polling district (this will be on your PV)

·  Polling number (this will be on your PV)

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