Lib Dems Abroad urge overseas voters to register for the General Election

Tuesday, 16th January heralds big increase in eligible overseas voters – let’s ensure it makes a difference in key Lib Dem marginals

With a crucial UK General Election on the horizon this year, Liberal Democrats Abroad (LDA) are urging millions of Brits living overseas to make sure they register to vote so they can exercise their full democratic rights.

Up to now, British citizens living overseas have only been able to vote in UK elections if they had lived in the UK in the previous 15 years and had been registered to vote. But on Tuesday 16 January, all that changes as 2.1 more million UK citizens are now eligible to vote, bringing the total number of Brits abroad eligible to vote to about 3.5 million. That’s an eligible electorate almost the size of Scotland’s.

Please tell your family and friends abroad to register to vote, or to renew their registrations from 16th January 2024 here.  

Lib Dems Abroad – made up of Lib Dems in Europe, Lib Dems in France andLib Dems Overseas Local Parties – are spearheading this effort on behalf of the party which will then evolve into the General Election campaign which will be waged by the party for the first time across the globe. 

In line with party policy, we will be working closely with local parties, especially our target seats. We have created the Overseas Voter Hub – for local parties where we will be putting up information useful for their campaign teams; register for access on this page. You are most welcome already to book a briefing online there to find out more. We will also be present at our 2024 Spring conference, where we’ll have a stand and hope to run a training session. Come and find out how we can help you welcome your new overseas voters !

LDA is now stepping up preparations to amplify the Electoral Commission’s registration campaign with our own communications activities. We are commencing a primarily digital campaign, targeting British citizens directly through social media and also through a specially-prepared worldwide database of over 200 British associations and English-speaking media. If you want to be a Social Media Champion to help rebroadcast our social media messages, just fill in this form and we’ll be in touch.

LDA has launched britsabroad.vote to inform potential voters of the electoral changes with details of how to register to vote and get a proxy – proxies being a key element of our campaign given that many overseas voters could find it difficult to receive and return their ballots by post in time. 

We are encouraging our 15 MPs to engage more with their overseas constituents by writing to them and to consider possibly holding a zoom surgery with them for the first time. We are also looking at ways PPCs in target seats might communicate with their registered overseas voters in a cost-effective way.

Among the issues of great concern to British citizens abroad are that 

  • The UK builds effective and ever-closer ties with Europe, 
  • Frozen overseas state pensions are uplifted, 
  • All efforts are made to mitigate the effects of climate change, 
  • The UK establishes overseas constituencies to ensure their issues are raised directly with representatives, 
  • British Embassies and consulates look after our citizens better, especially being able to evacuate our citizens in failing states swiftly in times of crisis. 

We have also submitted a motion to FCC for Spring conference to fill an important gap in our manifesto by establishing a distinctive party policy to woo overseas resident voters, in particular as many newly-enfranchised voters are pensioners who have been away from the UK for more than 15 years.  

All this could not be possible without the extraordinary help of our Lib Dem activists across the world who are giving their time and expertise at no cost to the party. They are brilliant.

Certainly, we intend to give Conservatives Abroad and Labour International a good run for their money! We’re fired up and determined to succeed in directing crucial votes to the party.

 

* George Cunningham is Chair of the Lib Dems Abroad Steering Committee Twitter: @GFCunningham

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12 Comments

  • Stephen Yolland 14th Jan '24 - 9:47am

    Fantastic to see this well organised effort to bring distinctively different Lib Dem messages to this vast voter cohort. We will be rewarded with a “higher than average” positive voter response for being the party that works hardest to bring this good news to voters denied the vote for too long, and those votes could well be crucial in key target seats. Well done George and all the Lib Dem Abroad members and friends.

  • Antoine GODBERT 14th Jan '24 - 11:13am

    Wonderful to take into account those who are so often forgotten where as their overview is essential to focus on some important topics able to highlight our global commitments. And what’s a good idea to mobilise our MPs !

  • Can we please have some graphics/memes that we can use on social media? This post is too Lib Dem specific.

  • Colin Bloodworth 14th Jan '24 - 1:51pm

    This is a huge opportunity to win the hearts of long-neglected overseas voters and the 2.1 million new voters now eligible to vote after being left out in the cold for 15 or more years.
    There is one particular group who should have a special interest in this opportunity. I am referring to some half a million British retirees who have been denied annual uplifts to their pensions since 1947 when a law was passed to exclude them on the grounds they had paid little or nothing into the new National Insurance fund. But since then, over a million pensioners have paid a lifetime of contributions, yet the law has not changed to accomodate them, apart from those living in Europe, the United States or a sprinkling of small countries that have reciprocal agreements with the UK.
    While some of the half million are assisted (to the shame of the UK) by their host countries such as Australia and Canada, a good hundred thousand of them, including many war veterans, are suffering extreme hardships in other countries around the world. Although they contributed like everyone else, they are receiving the same pensions that they did 20 or 30 years ago.
    If the Lib Dems can make a policy statement to the effect that they will support the unfreezing of these pensions, and since it is unlikely that either of the major parties will do the same, which party are 100% of the half a million frozen pensioners likely to support?
    It’s a no-brainer!

  • nigel hunter 14th Jan '24 - 6:58pm

    I have a sister in South Africa.Her pension could do with an increase.
    At home we must not forget that for the upcoming elections people will need the correct sort of ID.ALSO after3 years POSTAL VOTES have to be renewedIf not dealt with this will leave to disenfranchisement.We need HOME votes as well as ABROAD ones.

  • Chris Platts 14th Jan '24 - 8:46pm

    At long last democracy is being enhanced by the removal of the 15 year rule. Next stop removal of the FPTP voting process and then overseas constituencies.

  • Robert Harrison 16th Jan '24 - 7:35am

    Pleased to say that I successfully registered at 5 am UK time this morning on the Electoral Commission’s website and received a few minutes later an email to confirm that my details were being forwarded to Sheffield City Council as I last lived in the Sheffield Hallam constituency. Will my vote make a difference to this target seat?

  • Leekliberal 16th Jan '24 - 9:27am

    I just hope that Sir Ed finally manages to utter the word ‘Brexit’, if only to this group of voters!8

  • George Cunningham 16th Jan '24 - 9:29am

    For Rob Chave & all local parties, please send us your contact details on twitter/X @libdemsabroad and @GFCunningham and we’ll put you on out social media champions list to receive our posts automatically for you to distribute as you see fit. You will see an example that has now been embedded into this article.

  • Ruvi Ziegler 26th Jan '24 - 10:58am

    Thanks for posting this, George.

    I am commenting as Chair of New Europeans UK.

    In light of this welcome change, we – jointly with Unlock Democracy have launched a campaign for the creation of dedicated overseas constituencies (see e.g. here: https://neweuropeans.uk/2023/06/20/overseas-constituency-campaign-attracts-media-coverage/).

    There is an Early Day Motion to that effect, launched by Christine Jardine MP: https://edm.parliament.uk/early-day-motion/61726
    Please encourage your MP (of whichever party) to sign.

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