Deadline day: What Brits in Europe can do to make sure they vote in UK election

Deadline day: What Brits in Europe can do to make sure they vote in UK election
Labour Party activists Tim Holt (L) and Martyn Oliver prepare to erect a sign showing support for John Grogan, the Labour party candidate in the forthcoming general election, outside a residential property in the town centre of Silsden near Keighley, northwest England. Photo: Oli Scarff/AFP

Tuesday, June 18th is the deadline for Brits to register to vote in the UK's general election, but there are other measures you can take to make sure your vote gets to the ballot box on time.


The deadline for registering to vote in the UK election on July 4th is 11:59pm on Tuesday June 18th.

Is it too late to register for a postal vote? 

While it is theoretically possible to register for a postal vote until 5pm on Wednesday 19th, it is far from certain that you will be able to get your postal voting pack sent out to you, vote, and send it back to the UK fast enough for your vote to have arrived by the deadline of 10pm on polling day, July 4th. 

The UK's Royal Mail aims to deliver letters to France, Germany, Spain, Switzerland, Sweden, and Austria within 3 to 4 working days, and to other European countries in The Local's network within 3-5 days. 

This means that while those who registered early should expect to receive their postal voting pack from about June 18th, those who apply on Wednesday may have to wait until June 25th or later.

READ ALSO: The key deadlines Brits in Europe need to know to vote in the UK election

Postnord in Sweden and Denmark aim to get a first class letter to the UK within 3-4 days, France's La Poste and Germany's Deutsche Post both take between 2-3 days, and Spain's Correos aims to deliver to the UK in 2-4 days.

This means you might make it. But all of these services can sometimes take longer, so do you really want to trust them with something as important as your vote?

For Brits in Italy, with its notoriously slow postal service, it's almost certainly too much of a risk. 

If you registered months ago, can you guarantee getting your postal vote back on time? 

Some councils in the UK sent out postal votes for overseas voters from June 13th, but some Brits have received emails informing them that they will be sent out much later, with one saying they will be sent from June 24th.

It's worth ringing the electoral services team at your local council to check. 

Indeed, some local councils in the UK (among them South Norfolk and Broadland) have already been in contact with Brits warning them it's likely to be too tight and advising them to switch to a proxy vote. 


Is it worth paying for a courier or registered delivery? 

Many postal services will offer a more expensive faster service rather than the usual "snail mail" service or there are private firms like DHL that offer quicker delivery services.

Some Brits in Europe are discussing paying for a courier or some other form of express delivery if their voter pack arrives too close to the election.

This may well be worth it as most courier services guarantee to deliver letters within a few days, or even offer same day international delivery, meaning you can skip the worry over whether your ballot will arrive on time. 


If I don't want to take the risk, can I switch to a proxy? 

If you apply for a proxy vote online you've got a bit more time, but you'll still need to submit your application by 5pm on June 26th.

So you may prefer to opt for the proxy option, in which you authorise someone else in the UK to vote for you. Your proxy can either opt to vote in-person at your polling station or they can ask for a postal vote on your behalf. 

Again, you can apply by post or online. If applying by post, your application needs to reach your local Electoral Registration Office by 5pm on June 19th.

If you have already applied for a postal vote, and want to shift to a proxy, can still make the change up until that same 5pm deadline. 



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