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Voting in EU referendum when not EU or UK resident

(24 Posts)
Terramirabilis Wed 13-Apr-16 22:42:31

So I think I am understanding correctly that as someone who has lived in the UK in the last 15 years I can register to vote and take part in the EU referendum.

I live in the US so brexit/bremain wouldn't affect me. In fact for me personally it wouldn't matter because I also have citizenship of another EU country so would still be an EU citizen regardless.

But for my DS, who only has UK and US citizenship, brexit would matter at least in terms of the hypothetical possibility that he might one day want to live in an EU country and may lose the easy access EU citizenship provides.

Does it seem "right" to take part in this vote as someone it doesn't really personally affect? I can't shake the feeling that I'm sort of qualified on a technicality and shouldn't really participate as I'm not paying taxes/don't have a real vested interest. I haven't lived in the UK or the UK for nearly 14 years.

Terramirabilis Wed 13-Apr-16 22:48:30

*UK or EU I should have said

Chalalala Fri 15-Apr-16 12:26:56

Does it seem "right" to take part in this vote as someone it doesn't really personally affect?

I don't think it's a problem. As citizens we vote on lots of things that don't personally affect us, we're supposed to vote for what we think is best for the country as a whole.

But you'd better hurry up to register, only a few days left I believe!

Thecatisatwat Mon 18-Apr-16 12:44:53

I don't understand how you can register to vote if you don't have a UK address. confused

Personally I disagree with Chalala, (I'm assuming you're intending to vote to remain) when we vote we do tend to vote for issues that will affect us (no party will do everything that we support but we have to weigh up what's most important to us) so it does annoy me if you vote to remain when EU membership has absolutely no effect on your life. If your son has the necessary skills for a certain job in a European country I'm sure they will welcome him with open arms no matter what his nationality is.

SquareDolphin Mon 18-Apr-16 16:36:51

Crikey. OP, if this affects your son it affects you. Even if it doesn't you have the same right as any other citizen (obligation even in some countries) to participate in basic democratic process for the interests of your country.

thecatisatwat, why on earth would you need a UK address to register to vote?

Thecatisatwat Tue 19-Apr-16 12:24:06

Well on a very basic level where do they send the voting cards or postal voting forms? Or are the government so desperate to get a Remain vote that they're willing to waste even more than that £9millon post these out to anywhere in the world? confused

Chalalala Tue 19-Apr-16 12:31:12

you have to register online as an overseas voter and apply to vote by post, then they mail you your voting cards. Or you can vote by proxy if you prefer.

this applies to all UK elections btw, not just the referendum. Too late to register for that now!

SquareDolphin Tue 19-Apr-16 21:47:01

Luckily I think deadline to register as voter for the referendum is apparently 7 June according to government website:

thecatisatwat you start by suggesting that people more directly affected by the outcome should have greater voting rights than others. Since expats are potentially one of the most greatly affected population groups why would you now disparage the notion that they should be posted ballot papers enabling them to vote at all (discounting the fact that most use proxies within the UK as advised by the government anyway)?

Not exactly a democratic perspective, is it.

Chalalala Wed 20-Apr-16 12:01:26

Oh you are right SquareDolphin - I thought I'd seen a different date, but clearly not.

LetThereBeCupcakes Wed 20-Apr-16 13:40:08

You don't have to register separately to vote in the EU referendum do you? So long as you're on the electoral roll that's fine, right?

Sorry to hijack, OP!

Itinerary Wed 20-Apr-16 13:54:08

Yes that's right Cupcake, you don't have to register again.

SquareDolphin Wed 20-Apr-16 13:57:30

let there be cakes you are correct. If you are registered to vote (as overseas voter) then you need do nothing. If you have set a proxy to bit on your behalf for all elections and referendum, that also includes EU Referendum.

Any questions, don't hesitate to contact the electoral services email for your last UK constituency to check you are set up.

SquareDolphin Wed 20-Apr-16 13:57:59

X post, sorry!

LetThereBeCupcakes Wed 20-Apr-16 13:58:35

Thanks for that itinerary. Lots of my friends are convinced you need to register again. confused

Sorry again OP.

LetThereBeCupcakes Wed 20-Apr-16 14:01:39

And thanks square too!

NoItsAVegetable Wed 20-Apr-16 14:04:40

Please do, if only to compensate for those of us who are very much affected but not allowed to vote because of the 15-year rule!

HateTablets Wed 20-Apr-16 14:06:49

Hold, are you saying that if you have been living in the UK for 15 years but aren't a UK citizen, then yoou can still vote??

I was convinced that, as a non UK citizen, I couldn't do that.

How can I check that I would qualify? Depending on how they do the counting, I might be either slightly over or slightly uner the 15 years....

NoItsAVegetable Wed 20-Apr-16 14:16:49


I cannot vote, even though I am a British citizen, because I've been living in another EU country for over 15 years.

For you it depends on what nationality you are, I think. If other EU no (unless Irish, Maltese, Cypriot or Gibraltan, who I believe get preferential treatment); if Commonwealth possibly yes? Are you entitled to vote in other UK elections?

SquareDolphin Wed 20-Apr-16 14:23:29

No, veggie is referring to the atrocity in British law that stipulates a UK citizen is only entitled to remain part of the British democratic system i.e. vote in the 15 years following date of expatriation.

Conversely, they are kind enough to accept tax receipts from these same individuals grin

I took a brief detour in life back to London about a decade ago so I'm still "valid". I bet/hope the government is starting to regret their discriminatory behaviour on this score now <evil laugh>

And I definitely feel an extra heavy weight of obligation to vote because so many expats have been unfairly excluded.

SquareDolphin Wed 20-Apr-16 14:25:58

cupcakes if they'd like to re-register for peace of mind they can...following the link it takes 5 mins that's all.

HateTablets Wed 20-Apr-16 14:54:10

You mean that, even though you are British citizen, might still paying taxes here etc... Yoou can't vote?!?
Is that just for this election or in general?

I'm from another EU country so I can vote for the local elections, not the general elections.
I can still vote for all the elections in my home country though (MPs, general elections etc...) and could vote for the European elections too if I wasn't voting here.

HirplesWithHaggis Wed 20-Apr-16 15:12:23

Chalalala re dates for registration - it's now too late to register to vote in the Scottish Parliamentary elections next month, could that be the cause of your confusion?

NoItsAVegetable Wed 20-Apr-16 15:22:01

I know, Hate, daft isn't it? It's in general, in any election. And, most particularly, in this referendum which arguably affects us more than anyone else.

I can't vote in national elections in my country of residence either (only EU and local ones) because I'm a British citizen and have no wish to stop being one. Needless to say I've paid lots of tax here too over the past two decades or more. The citizens of this country are entitled to vote for life, though, wherever they are in the world. They even have a department of the foreign ministry devoted to looking after their interests, annual conference, etc., something us poor shunned creatures can only dream of.

Thanks Square for doing your duty on our behalf .... wink

Chalalala Wed 20-Apr-16 15:53:28

I'm an EU citizen with permanent residence in the UK, British children and years of paid taxes under my belt. I can't vote, which I don't like but I guess is fair enough.

What stings a little is that if I was in the exact same situation but with an Australian passport, I would be able to vote in the referendum.

Sadly it says quite a bit about Britain's perception of its place in the world.

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