General Election postal vote mayhem: Expats urged to vote by proxy due to post chaos


BRITONS living abroad have been urged to get a friend or family member to vote on their behalf in the upcoming general election amid fears of postal vote mayhem.

Hundreds of thousands of British expats have been urged to get friends or relatives to cast their votes as there will be minimal time for them to set up a postal vote before the December 12 ballot day. The Daily Telegraph reports the Electoral Commission said Britons in foreign countries should set up a vote by proxy so they do not miss out. The rush is due to the lack of time between the publication of details of candidates and the deadline to vote by post.

The Association of Electoral Administrators said it would be “prudent” for experts to ask someone they trusted to cast their vote for them.

The association said: “As postal vote packs cannot be printed until candidate nominations close in the middle of November, it may be prudent for UK voters living overseas to consider setting up a proxy vote to have someone they trust vote on their behalf on Dec 12.”

To apply for a vote by proxy, applicants should complete a form and provide a reason why they cannot vote themselves.

Common reasons include a holiday that is booked for the time of the election, living abroad or if the voter has a physical condition stopping them from voting.

The proxy vote consists of a special card allowing another person to vote on their behalf.

A spokesman for the Electoral Commission said: “We suggest that anyone who is concerned that they may not be able to receive and return their postal vote in time, should consider appointing someone they trust to be a proxy voter on their behalf.”

There are around three million Britons living abroad.

Up to 250,000 of them are reported to be registered to vote.

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Many of them are retired older voters who are thought to be supporters of the Conservatives.

Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown MP, chairman of Conservatives Abroad, said he would instruct Conservative HQ to target them ahead of the Christmas election.

He added the short election period “will be a problem for overseas voters”.

He added: “This is something that I will discuss within the party to see if we can get something sent to all those who we think are going to vote Conservative to urge them to get a proxy.”

The latest polls put Boris Johnson ahead of his rivals five weeks before the crunch date.

He received a major boost from the latest opinion poll, as the Tories continue to surge ahead of Labour.

Mr Johnson picked up three percentage points and hold a formidable 12 point lead over Jeremy Corbyn.

The poll was conducted by Britain Elects and covers the period from October 30 up to November 1.

According to the poll, the Tories currently stand on 39 percent, followed by Labour on 27 and the Liberal Democrats on 16.

The Lib Dems continue to see their support ebb away, with the party losing another two percentage points, as Jo Swinson’s gamble to stake her campaign on stopping Brexit seems to be backfiring.

However, the biggest loser in the latest round of polling is Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party, which has seen its support collapse to just seven percent – a drop of six points.

This comes after Mr Farage threatened to contest every parliamentary seat if the Prime Minister refuses to ditch his Brexit deal.

Meanwhile on Sunday, Ms Swinson was grilled by Sky News presenter Sophy Ridge over misleading campaign literature issued by her party.

A campaign pamphlet showed poll data indicating that the Lib Dems were leading Labour in North East Somerset, whose MP is Jacob Rees-Mogg.

However the question, displayed in small print at the bottom, asked participants to expect no parties other than the Liberal Democrats and Conservatives to be “competitive”.

Ms Ridge described the survey as “entirely misleading” and “embarrassing” for the Liberal Democrat leader.


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