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Elections - Overseas voters sought [print version]

Polling station, Trowbridge, Wiltshire. Photo 1000 Words/shutterstock.com.

On 16 January 2024 the eligibility of overseas voters in UK elections will change dramatically – allowing those who don’t live in Britain to influence what happens here.

The government estimates this will mean around 3.5 million British nationals living overseas will now be eligible to register to vote in future UK national elections and referendums. This creates significant interference in British matters by people who have chosen to live abroad.

Until now overseas voters could be registered in the constituency where they voted before leaving Britain. Registration had to be renewed annually for up to 15 years. And those who left more than 15 years ago were ineligible to register.

The new legislation will remove the 15-year limit: it is being called the “votes for life” policy. And the government will actively encourage registration.

• A longer version of this article is on the web at www.cpbml.org.uk