Op-Ed: With the devil as always in the detail who is eligible to vote in the upcoming UK EU in or out referendum is crucial.
If you have registered to vote in the UK you will be eligible to vote in the EU referendum. You do not have to register again.
But there are some voting restrictions in the EU referendum which will take place June 23, 2016.
The government denied appeals to lower the age of voting for this referendum even though that happened in Scotland for that country's independence referendum.
Scotland lowered the age just for referendum voting to 16 but the eligible age in the UK EU referendum is 18; whether that move was a good idea is debatable. As young people have in many ways more to win or lose on the result of the EU referendum. It is after all their future that is at stake.
Overseas voters will be allowed a vote in the EU ref if they meet the following criteria:
If you are a UK citizen living abroad, you can apply to be an overseas voter.
If you have not registered to vote in this year’s elections, including the EU referendum, you still have time.
The cut-off date for registering to be able to vote in the UK EU referendum is Tuesday June 7, 2016.
According to the Telegraph "Just over 4.5 million Britons live abroad, with approximately 1.3 million of them in Europe, according to the United Nations." They mainly live in France, Spain and Ireland although there will be pockets of expats in countries such as Portugal and Italy.
There are claims that expats in the EU may be forced to return to the UK if the country votes to leave the European Union but that is not proved and condemned by some as scaremongering. Likewise Britain has various EU citizens living and in some cases working in the UK.
But while eligible expat voters may be having their say on the future of British EU membership changes at home have resulted in thousands disappearing from electoral registers. "An estimated 800,000 people have dropped off the electoral register since the government introduced changes to the system, with students in university towns at highest risk of being disenfranchised, the Guardian has learned."
It is worth checking online if you are registered to vote and the latest guidelines for ensuring that you are. You can do both if you follow this link.
However the UK may also dish out a fine if you are asked to register to vote and do not, unless there are extenuating circumstances. Like so much in 2016 the goalposts are being shifted at record speed and keeping up is tricky.
EU resident voters in the referendum can vote by post or appoint a proxy. Similar options are also available for UK residents.
Election and Voting information at the Electoral Commission
Register to vote at this link
British political scene
The next General Election in the UK may not be scheduled any time soon but the British political landscape is changing. With that in mind this blog will concentrate on the political scene but with a left wing perspective. Opinion pieces and news will bring you the stories that the MSM prefer to ignore.