Registering to vote – Deadline is early May!

With the UK’s Withdrawal from the EU now postponed until 31 October at the latest, the chances that the UK will take place in the elections for the European Parliament on Thursday 23 May in the UK and Sunday 26 May in Germany has increased.

As we will continue to be EU Citizens at this point we will continue to have the right to take part in these elections.

The deadline to register in the UK is 7th May, and in Germany 5th May, so you will need to move fast!

You will have two choices:

  • If you have been absent from the UK for less than 15 years you can still vote in the EU elections in the UK at your last registered address.
  • If you have been absent for more than 15 years or if you prefer to vote in Germany you can register to vote there instead.

Voting in the UK

Together with British in Europe we have re-opened the voter website last used for the 2017 General Election.

It contains lots of useful information on registering and voting as an Overseas Voter and can be found at the British in Europe registration site.

A summary of the information is shown below:

The  UK Government Website details the options for voting when living abroad.

The site run by the Electoral Commission is also useful.

If you have not already registered to vote, scroll to the end of the page and find the link to register to vote either online for England, Scotland and Wales, or by post in Northern Ireland. Latest inquires from our members suggest 7th May is the deadline to register for the EU Elections.

Even if you think you are registered it would be worth checking by contacting the Electoral Registration Officer  where you think you are registered. Registrations are confirmed each year by post and you may have become deregistered if you have moved addresses and not informed them.

Once registered you should consider how you wish to vote, either by post or by proxy.

If you choose a postal vote then your voting papers will be posted out to you in Germany where you can complete them before returning them. Be aware that the time available to do this limited as the voting papers can take several days to arrive and must be return promptly to be counted.

The most assured way to vote is via a proxy. This could be a friend or neighbour you are happy will vote as you direct them to, or an alternative is to contact your party of choice locally (most have websites to allow you to find a contact name) and they can be authorised to vote on your behalf. In both cases a form needs to be completed and returned to the Returning Officer so start making preparations now.

In the UK the election in on a regional list system and you will have one vote for the list of your choice.

Voting in Germany

The German Government Website (in German) details the options for voting in Germany:

  • If you are a German citizen, you should be on the electoral register here automatically.
  • If you are a UK / other EU citizen and not also German, you aren’t included automatically on the register for the European Parliament, you need to opt-in.
  • If you have opted in for a previous European Parliament election in Germany since 1999 you should still be on the register, even if you have moved home within Germany. But you might want to double check this with your local Wahlamt to confirm you are on the list (particularly given all the recent uncertainty re Brexit)
  • If you used to live in Germany but then moved away before moving back again, you will need to opt back in again to the European Parliament electoral register. This can be done up to 21 days before the vote, i.e, 5 May. The necessary form can be found on the website but must be handed in personally or by post to the Wahlamt – electoral office – in your local authority area (e.g. Bezirksamt or Kreisverwaltung).

It is possible to set up a postal vote, otherwise you would attend the polling station indicated on your voting card and on presenting your passport will be given a voting paper.

In Germany the election is on a nation wide list system and you will have one vote for the list of your choice.

Information across the EU is available on an EU sponsored website and includes a section for the UK and for Germany.

Image: By Man vyi – Self-photographed, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=5004689