Britons Voting Abroad
22nd September The Public Bill Committee on the Elections Bill sat on Wednesday and Thursday 15th & 16th last week. The issue of Overseas Electors was discussed in the Third Sitting on the morning of the 16th. Witnesses who were invited to contribute to the discussion were representatives of the three main parties abroad: Conservatives Abroad (CA), Labour International (LI) and Liberal Democrats Abroad (LDA). You can read my summary and get links to the transcript and recording of the session under the heading 'Elections Bill 2021-22'.
Committee proceedings continue on 22nd September then from 19th October. The final meeting will be on 3rd November.
10th September The Elections Bill 2021-22 which passed its Second Reading on September 7th 2021 includes the Conservative pledge to abolish the 15 year rule included in the party manifesto since 2015. This proposal is in Part 2/10 of the Bill. You can read/download the full text of the Bill and its related documents here (p.12-18 for section on overseas electors): https://bills.parliament.uk/bills/3020/publications
The Bill contains many other controversial proposals which are likely to dominate the debate, notably:
- voter ID
- election expenditure & political finance
- changes to postal and proxy voting
- role of the Electoral Commission
You can read a summary of the Bill's proposals here:
It will now be scrutinised by a Public Bill Committee of the House of Commons. These proceedings will start on 15th September and must be completed by November 3rd.
JANUARY 2020 A new online survey has been launched to collect data on Britons living abroad and their views on UK political developments. If you are a British citizen living outside the UK, you are invited to take part in this survey which is part of an academic project run by Dr Susan Collard & Professor Paul Webb from the Department of Politics at the University of Sussex. We are trying to build an up to date general profile of the UK’s global diaspora, traditionally 'hard to reach', and to investigate the political views and voting practices of Britons resident abroad.
You may have left the UK several decades ago and have no interest in UK politics, you may follow UK news every day online, or you may be somewhere in between. Whatever your particular circumstances, wherever you are, we would like as many participants as possible to take part in this original project which is the first of its kind.
The survey is being rolled out using the ‘snowballing’ technique which works like a chain letter, inviting people to circulate the online link to their organisations and / or to any British friends, family members and colleagues, encouraging them to complete the survey and to forward the link to their own contacts.
The survey is not funded by any external sponsor, it is a project indirectly funded from within the time contractually allocated to university academics for research. The survey findings will lead to original, evidence-based analysis to be published in a series of reports, blogs and academic articles in 2020-2021 with the aim of informing public debate over future legislation concerning the rights of non-resident British citizens.
You can access the survey and read the terms of participation on the opening page at: https://sussex.onlinesurveys.ac.uk/2019-election-survey-of-britons-abroad-1
All enquiries should be addressed to Dr Susan Collard at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Further reading: S. Collard, ‘The UK Politics of Overseas Voting’ in The Political Quarterly, Vol.90, Issue 4, Oct-Dec 2019, p. 672-680. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/1467-923X.12729
Discussion Paper on The Proposed Registration Process for Overseas Electors if 'Votes For Life' passes into law. Go to the Discussion Papers under 'Debates' and leave your comments in the Discussion Forum.
Latest update on OVERSEAS ELECTORS BILL: read my explanation of why the Report Stage of the BIll was postponed on the Overseas Electors Bill page: scroll down to the bottom.
OVERSEAS ELECTORS BILL REPORT STAGE; March 22nd has just been announced for the next stage of the Bill. There has been much jockeying for positions in the long queue for Private Members Bills as Parliament runs out of time in the wake of the Brexit and there is still no guarantee that this will not change again.
LATEST UPDATE ON OVERSEAS ELECTORS BILL: the date of next Friday Jan 25th scheduled for the Report Stage has NOT been confirmed as it has been announced that the House will not be sitting that day. More 'sitting' dates may be announced next Wednesday, but given the current turmoil in Parliament the implications for this bill are unclear.
For all latest updates follow BritonsAbroad on Facebook using the link below.
Latest article in Connexion, France's English-language newspaper, on the chances of Votes For Life delivering a vote for Britons currently disenfranchised by the 15 year rule in the event of a second referendum: https://www.connexionfrance.com/French-news/Brexit/Would-Britons-abroad-have-a-say-in-a-People-s-Vote
LINK TO US...When you are sending messages to friends and family please include the link to this website and ask them to forward to any British citizens they know who live outside the UK.
BLOGPOST EXPLAINING OVERSEAS ELECTORS BILL ON LSE WEB-SITE... at Democratic Audit blog:
PUBLIC DEBATE...On the 28th of November, University of Sussex public debate in Brighton Museum Lab on Votes For Life with panelist’s from British in Europe (Jane Golding), the Association of Electoral Administrators (Peter Stanyon) and the Electoral Reform Society (Charley Jarrett). A majority of the audience voted in favour of the bill!
ABOUT THIS WEBSITE
This web-site is designed primarily for British citizens who live outside the UK and who have an interest in voting rights in UK elections. It is part of a university research project on overseas voting run by Dr Sue Collard of the Politics Department at the University of Sussex. The creation of the site has been funded by the School of Law, Politics and Sociology.
The broad aims of the site are:
- To inform and enhance the quality of public and parliamentary debate on the issue of overseas voting and related subjects such as electoral registration and voting procedures for overseas electors
- the site brings together in one place easy access to a wide range of official documents and reports already available to the public but which are not widely known about
- it also offers resources from academia, some of which have been created specifically for this site in order to engage a non-specialist public
- to stimulate debate and engagement with the issue of overseas voting amongst a wide range of ‘stakeholders’ in the UK such as policy-makers, electoral administrators, politicians and political parties, pro-democracy organisations and other academics, but also with the general public, and most importantly, with British citizens living abroad:
- the site provides a forum for debates on issues arising from the issue of voting rights in which all interested parties are invited to participate, specialists or non-specialists
- the site welcomes feedback on the usefulness of the resources made available, in fact its future funding depends on it: please use the feedback page to rate and comment on the resources you have accessed
When the site was launched (end of November 2018), the main focus was on discussion of the Overseas Electors Bill 2017-19 which was then going through Parliament: the various stages of parliamentary debate and summaries, analysis and explanations of the debates were posted as the Bill progressed. You can read all this under the heading 'Overseas Electors Bill' .
The site aims at impartial dissemination of information and it does not take a position on the main aim of the Overseas Electors Bill but it welcomes contributions to debates from all perspectives and viewpoints.
Please use the Feedback form to make suggestions for how the site can be improved and meet the needs of those it is intended to serve.