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Overseas voting rights for UK and Irish Citizens

UK and IRISH CITIZENS

Unfortunately, Irish citizens residing permanently outside Ireland currently do not have the right to participate in Irish elections. However, a referendum is proposed for 2018 to decide whether to grant the vote to some or all of the Irish diaspora living outside Ireland. CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFO.

A UK citizen wishing to apply for registration as an overseas voter may do so provided they have been registered on an electoral register at an address in the UK within the last 15 years prior to their application. Minors who were not old enough to register on the electoral role when they previously resided in the UK should supply the name of a parent or guardian who was registered to vote within the last 15 years. Any British Citizen resident in Spain or overseas can apply for registration at any time.

The application to register can be made online here:

https://www.gov.uk/register-to-vote

Alternatively, you can register to vote by post:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/voter-registration-forms-paper-versions

Once registered, voters can apply to vote by post or by proxy.

UK Postal voting

The law allows anyone included in a register of electors to apply for a postal vote from in or outside of the UK. The postal vote application form must be completed, signed and returned at least 11 working days before the election.

A ballot paper and “declaration of identity” form will be sent to the home address about one week before the election.

All postal votes must arrive at the Returning Officer before the end of voting on the day of the election. They may be delivered either by post or in person (it can be handed in to the Returning Officer or to a polling station in the electoral area on Election Day).

Note: If the postal vote is to be sent to an overseas address, ensure that the postal services can deliver it and return it to the relevant election office in the UK within five working days. If it’s not certain that this can be achieved, it is strongly recommended to appoint a proxy in the UK to vote by post or in person.

Voting by proxy

A voter unable to vote in person at their polling station may apply to appoint a “proxy” who will vote on their behalf provided they are eligible to vote. A proxy must be at least 18-years-old and not disqualified to vote in their own right. For a General Election the proxy must be a British, Commonwealth or Irish citizen. No person may act as a proxy for more than two people at the same election, unless those two people are closely related.

A voter wishing to use a proxy will need to find someone who is willing to vote for them. The relevant form must be completed, signed and sent to the ERO. The proxy will then be able to vote at the polling station or by post.

If a proxy has been appointed but the voter finds they are able to attend the polling station in person, they may vote providing they (or their proxy) have not been sent a postal ballot paper.

A separate application form should be completed for each member of a household who wishes to arrange a postal or proxy vote.