Changes to voting in UK elections from overseas

11 May 2023
Lib Dem logo bird projected on blockwork

Changes to voting in UK elections from overseas

Date:  May 2023
What has changed in the Elections Act?

British citizens living abroad for more than 15 years have finally had their right to vote in UK general elections established in principle under the wide-ranging and controversial Elections Act given Royal Assent on the 28th April 2022.

The next steps involve the publication of secondary legislation giving details of how the new laws will work, followed by guidance from the Electoral Commission about how to put it into practice in time for the next general election.


What is happening right now and does it affect me? 

The first work on secondary legislation is focusing on the need for voter ID to be allowed to vote at a polling station.  This was first introduced in England at the May local elections.  For a General Election after October 2023, anyone voting at a polling station will need to prove their identity.

For any overseas elector or their proxy (someone who votes for you) at a polling station - that person will need to have one of the accepted forms of photo ID or a Voter Authority Certificate.


When will new British voters abroad be able to register?  

The UK government has said it will come into force in January 2024, in time for you to vote at the next UK General Election.


When the time comes, speed will be of the essence, as your registration may take some time to be validated if it is your first time to register.


In the meantime ... 

Keep your registration up to date.  If you are currently eligible to vote (less than 15 years away from the UK) -   you can

  • Renew Your voter registration when the time comes.  Local councils usually contact you directly, but if you aren't sure if you are registered, use this tool to get their details and ask them directly  
  • Register to vote here using either the online portal or download and return the form provided

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