If you want to vote in the UK and you live abroad, the safest way to vote is by proxy – in other words getting someone in the UK to vote for you. But if this is a hassle to arrange, or you’re in a country where the post is pretty quick and reliable, then you can arrange a postal vote with the UK local authority where you last voted.
Fill out a postal vote form here. The sooner you do this the better because different local authorities send out postal votes by post at different times and you obviously need to receive it by post, fill it out and get it back to them in time.
If you don’t know your local authority, you can enter your postcode here.
A few dates worth knowing:
- Now onwards – you can apply for a postal vote
- 7th May – deadline for registration.
- 23rd – 26th May European Parliament Elections.
Issue of paid or free postage: Postal votes for the European Parliamentary Elections come with an “international reply paid” envelope. The Electoral Commission say it needs no stamps. However, some people in Spain, Germany and Belgium have been told by their local post offices that they are not valid. It is thus probably best to double check with your Post Office before you post and/or add normal postage to ensure your ballot paper definitely arrives.
Anyone worried about the use of the International Business Reply Service envelopes to return their EU Ballot papers should read the following from Deutsche Post in Germany and the Electoral Commission. It is up to voters if they want to add stamps but it is not necessary.
Statement from Deutsche Post, 7 June 2016 – after some branch offices said they were not accepted:
“In general we accept A5 envelopes as IBRS (International business reply service) and all our retail outlets and production facilities are informed about the IBRS service. However, as IBRS is a product that is seldom posted at our outlets it might happen that a retail partner who is not familiar with IBRS requests postage from the sender. In this case the customers concerned can alternatively throw [post] the envelopes in one of our 110,000 letterboxes.”
Electoral Commission statement 7 June 2016:
“Postal votes being returned by overseas voters for the EU Referendum use the International Business Reply Service (IBRS). This service is commonly used for international mail and does not require any additional postage to be affixed. We are aware that a very small number of voters may have been incorrectly informed that the postal service in a handful of locations in Europe cannot accept IBRS items.
“Royal Mail has confirmed that IBRS is accepted across all international posts. It is working closely with postal operators to ensure acceptance of postal votes. Voters are advised that once a ballot is in the postal system (i.e. if it has been posted into a post box) it will be processed”