Online registration for UK expats may increase voter turnout
25 October 2013
ROME - British citizens living overseas may soon find it easier to participate in voting processes due to a new initiative by the Cabinet Office that is testing out online registration for expat voters, the Telegraph reports.
Current estimates suggest that out of the five million potential British voters who live overseas, only around 30,000 have ever registered to vote. The present process requires eligible voters to fill out a registration form, mail it to an electoral office in the UK, and then arrange to vote in person, by mail, or by proxy vote.
However, if a new government initiative is successful, it could allow for British expats to register online for voting. The move would cut out a tedious step from the process and possibily increase voter turnouts abroad. A member of the Government Digital Service, John Waterworth, has said that online registration will be "more convenient, simpler, and quicker."
Mr Waterworth also noted that the changes in registration would not affect any other voting regulations, specifically the measure that bars British expats from voting in general and European parliamentary elections after living abroad for 15 years.
The Government Digital Service is in the process of testing out trials for the program and is seeking volunteers for help. The trials, which will be held in Oxford on Oct. 31 and in London on Dec. 17, are open to all British expats over the age of 18 who are visiting the UK on those dates.
Those interested in volunteering may contact:
Sarah Tynan at email@example.com for testing in Oxford
Kelley Frizelle at firstname.lastname@example.org for testing in London