We all need to get our voting arrangements well in place before the next general election. Do not leave everything to the last minute. Your campaign coordinators have produced this aide-memoire to help you get all your ducks in a row.
Registering to Vote
It is important to act in good time. If you are not registered you can register as an overseas voter if you are a British citizen and you have been on a UK electoral register at any time within the past 15 years. If you have never registered before, do so as soon as you next visit the UK.
British citizens living abroad with no fixed abode in the UK can register as overseas voters if they have been on a UK electoral register at any time within the past 15 years. You have to register as an overseas voter with the Electoral Registration Office where you were registered before moving abroad. Some local authorities may take registrations by phone.
You can find the contact details of your Electoral Registration Officer (ERO) by entering your last UK postcode.
Voting by Proxy
Proxy is the best road to take if you are living overseas. Anyone can act as your proxy, as long as they are registered to vote. Your proxy can vote in person or by post. If your proxy votes at the same polling station as you would (e.g. neighbour in UK), ensure your proxy can vote in person – it is easier for them. If you previously had made arrangements to have a postal vote, make sure you cancel them before applying for your proxy.
Your proxy can even be living abroad so long as they are registered to vote. In this case you would need to arrange for the proxy to vote by post well in advance.
The first port of call if you haven’t got a proxy lined up is to approach your UK CLP where you are registered. The local MP, PPC, CLP secretary or any Labour councillor should be able and willing to facilitate the process for you.
Details of your CLP secretary will be on your LP membership card.
Here are the proxy vote application forms for download:
Alternatively, your proxy can live elsewhere and they can vote by post from anywhere in the UK. Any proxy can vote for 2 people per constituency at the same election, or more if the extra people are close relatives. The proxy needs to fill in a form and it needs to be with the ERO at least 15 days before an election.
This is the method we use as backup should any LI member draw a blank in their local UK constituency. If you come up against any problems and need help, contact
The quickest way to deal with the paperwork is to do everything online. Anything that requires a signature can be printed, signed, scanned and returned electronically. If you don’t have these facilities at home there is probably a print shop near you that does. You can also photograph and send the signed form electronically.
All forms must be sent to the Electoral Services Division of your local authority in the UK, not the Electoral Commission.
If you still want to vote by post, make sure you put a stamp on the return envelope, even if it is reply paid, just to make sure.
Special note from the Electoral Commission for those who have been abroad more than 15 years but will be returning to the UK temporarily:
If upon their return to the UK an elector makes a successful registration to vote before moving abroad again, then “the clock will be reset” and they will be allowed to vote abroad for a further 15 years. They can apply to register to vote as soon as they enter the UK.
In order to register, a person must be resident on the relevant date at the address at which they are seeking to be registered. It is for the Electoral Registration Officer at the local council to be satisfied that a person is eligible. For more information, Part 2 of our guidance for Electoral Registration Officers contains guidance on eligibility.
Registering to Vote in a nutshell (link to PDF)