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Old Oct 3rd 2011, 1:04 pm   #61
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Default Re: Voting Rights

Here's an interesting assertion by Harriet Harmon at last week's annual Labour party conference!
Government plans to clean up the electoral register would require each individual to sign up, ending the system where one person can register their household.
Ms Harman says research by the independent Electoral Commission found most of those who will become ineligible to vote are likely to have been Labour voters and the people who are bumped off the list are likely to be "predominantly poor, young or black, and more liable to vote Labour," she will tell delegates.
Why such people would become ineligible to vote is not made clear but presumably the government's plans are aimed at trying to cut down on fraudulent voting.
It's interesting that as a British expat with no right to vote in the UK after 15 years abroad , I at least have a valid passport from HMG which, in the absence of ID cards in the UK, should otherwise be sufficient to identify me as a valid voter!
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Old Oct 3rd 2011, 1:25 pm   #62
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Default Re: Voting Rights

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Originally Posted by Rod_ph View Post
Hello Domino,
I put your last point to a good friend of mine - Scottish, expat, miner's son and now retired in the south of France. He's UK politically aware, as an example he once stood as a Labour candidate for a constituency seat but was unfortunately not selected by the local party. Anyway I paraphrased you to ask him what he thought about new arrivals in the UK from a different culture having more voting rights than us after 15 years out of the country, although we still share the same culture of the majority in the UK.
Perhaps it was a flippant remark after a glass of wine or two but he said that's alright because they are there and we are here!
It's just a small indication that this issue of expatriate voting rights benefits from debate as I like to think we try to do in this thread. I read the other day that as only 13,000 expats out of the estimated 6.5 million outside the UK are registered to vote, this is a good indication of the actual level of interest. However, given the modern communications tools available particularly via the internet, you'd think the UK Electoral Commission (or powers that be) could do a better job of stimulating interest in, and making it easier to register for, those with less than 15 years out of the country and still able to vote, rather than just pushing out a bland notice to register each general election time.
Rod
Well Rod, your friend has a sense of rightness in all this, they are there and we are here (wherever here may be). How many of them may be able to have a vote "back home" as well as in the UK?
So how did they get the right to vote and stand for election but the likes of you and him (and me shortly) are in a position of losing our right to vote.
I think the loss of a right to vote in the UK could be deemed acceptable if it was balanced out by a right to vote in our new country. But even that is denied to us, except for Eu and local municipal elections.

As I have said earlier, the Right to Vote should be inherent in the person, perhaps proved by passport or ID card. If they are recorded on the residence register for the municipality concerned then they should have that vote (I don't know about "foreigners" from any country having to register with the local town hall their presence in the Uk).
rgds
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Old Oct 3rd 2011, 1:38 pm   #63
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Default Re: Voting Rights

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Originally Posted by Rod_ph View Post
Here's an interesting assertion by Harriet Harmon at last week's annual Labour party conference!
Government plans to clean up the electoral register would require each individual to sign up, ending the system where one person can register their household.
Ms Harman says research by the independent Electoral Commission found most of those who will become ineligible to vote are likely to have been Labour voters and the people who are bumped off the list are likely to be "predominantly poor, young or black, and more liable to vote Labour," she will tell delegates.
Why such people would become ineligible to vote is not made clear but presumably the government's plans are aimed at trying to cut down on fraudulent voting.
It's interesting that as a British expat with no right to vote in the UK after 15 years abroad , I at least have a valid passport from HMG which, in the absence of ID cards in the UK, should otherwise be sufficient to identify me as a valid voter!
Hi Rod,
you have been busy finding that. Funny that Ms Harman can work out how many votes may be lost to other parties. Funny that the population will look even more skew-wiff when compared with the electoral roll.

I believe this proposal is right and correct. Here we have 8 or 10 people living in 2 up 2 down properties according to the electoral roll. As with the census it is currently the responsibility of the head of household to fill in the ER form.
We have had more than one ER fraud case here, one was based on the incorrect use of the postal vote. This also requires no proof of identity, just a form sent in the post. Certain forms were filled in on the doorstep and signed illegibly or signed by the head of household. In some instances individual's votes were sent to a particular party because the head of household said that was how it was to be. This only came to the fore when some people didnt even know they had a postal and went to vote.

Yes, lets get everyone to register their individual right to vote, we seem to have dodgy population figures in some areas, relying on UKBA to ensure all not entitled to be here to be picked up.
And the presence of name on the ER gives a person a solidity, a presence, when there may well only be a ghost.

So, Rod, bring it on, lets get rid of all those who are not entitled to vote who are weeded out. It will also reduce the chances for those silly stories about a 6month old being given the vote - because her father filled in the form incorrectly
rgds
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Old Oct 10th 2011, 7:49 pm   #64
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Smile Re: Voting Rights

Hello Domino,
I've just come back from a conference in London where various politicians were making soothing noises about agreeing something needs to/will be done about expat voting rights, about it being a basic human right and that it should not be tied to being a UK taxpayer etc. However, they add there needs to be a general consensus between the main political parties and to counter the impression e.g. that expats are fat cats and don't contribute much to UK Plc once they've left the country! On this latter point I've had an input from an ex-serviceman who believes that the government is breaking the "military covenant" they talk about when we have soldiers dying in the field, in arbitrarily depriving ex-service people of their right to vote just because they have lived abroad for over 15 years. Other expats who have lost their vote are complaining because they are still paying UK taxes.
We were encouraged to get more expats to register to vote there being an estimated 5.5 million of them of which some 50 % should still be able to vote but at the last count (Dec 2010) only 30,809 are on the electoral roll.
There are various reasons quoted for this, one of which could be general apathy or lack of interest in the old country. However, there seems general agreement that the registration and voting procedures are archaic, too bureaucratic and time consuming given the modern commuications tools available today, that expats unless political activists, are put off making the effort, having better things to do with their time. There is also apparently a concern that registering as an expatriate voter could attract the unwelcome attentions of HMRC!
Kind regards,
Rod
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Old Oct 16th 2011, 2:33 pm   #65
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Default Re: Voting Rights

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rod_ph View Post
Hello Domino,
I've just come back from a conference in London where various politicians were making soothing noises about agreeing something needs to/will be done about expat voting rights, about it being a basic human right and that it should not be tied to being a UK taxpayer etc. However, they add there needs to be a general consensus between the main political parties and to counter the impression e.g. that expats are fat cats and don't contribute much to UK Plc once they've left the country! On this latter point I've had an input from an ex-serviceman who believes that the government is breaking the "military covenant" they talk about when we have soldiers dying in the field, in arbitrarily depriving ex-service people of their right to vote just because they have lived abroad for over 15 years. Other expats who have lost their vote are complaining because they are still paying UK taxes.
We were encouraged to get more expats to register to vote there being an estimated 5.5 million of them of which some 50 % should still be able to vote but at the last count (Dec 2010) only 30,809 are on the electoral roll.
There are various reasons quoted for this, one of which could be general apathy or lack of interest in the old country. However, there seems general agreement that the registration and voting procedures are archaic, too bureaucratic and time consuming given the modern commuications tools available today, that expats unless political activists, are put off making the effort, having better things to do with their time. There is also apparently a concern that registering as an expatriate voter could attract the unwelcome attentions of HMRC!
Kind regards,
Rod
Well Rod, at least you are getting soothing noises, but regret I don't think anything will come of it. It needs a big hitter to keep the pot boiling, someone like Frank Field, who has over many years been able to keep on raising certain injustices, raising their profile year after year.

If the civil servants who monitor the 15yrs were more active in communicating during that period it surely would get more to think about it. Yes, after 14yrs away from your last UK residence which may have only been a dormitory, where you had no interest in politics or voting before leaving the country, it is asking a lot to take any interest. But that is why I have said earlier that the individual should be able to transfer that vote along with their passport for identity to enable a vote in the new residence. I have seen many people take more interest when they retire - more time available when not working. Most local councillors are retired or owners of businesses where they can get the time off for such activities.

Yes the systems used in voting registration et al are achaic. They don't seem to have changed for centuries when not every man had a vote, letalone women as well. However, except for extenuating circumstances (living or holidaying abroad) where the postal vote can be exercised, all votes should be by the individual attending a polling station. This has been known to reduce fraud (twice in my local town in recent years).

The Military Covenant is something not bandied around much during my time, but more relevent today. It is surprising how quickly that 15yrs can slip by. But it cannot be used for a minority, it has to be for all not just recent ex-service personnel.

I seem to remember saying to you about the number of people who disenfranchised themselves from the electoral system during the Poll Tax. Expats are taking the same attitude. There are expats who have fully cut themselves off other than their pension cheque each month. There are others who maintain a property in the UK as a place of refuge, some of which are rented out and taxation is being deducted before the rent is passed on. Then there are those who have dropped off the radar, keep properties in more than one country, work in one or other or both without paying any taxes at all. But then every country has people who work exclusively in the Black Economy. These will never want their names to come up on anyone's screen - especially HMRC, so registering a vote will be the last of their Things To Do.
Al Capone was put into prison for taxation reasons because he was working in the Black Economy, but I don't think he was caught through registering to vote. But it could open up a huge can of worms if the so called Chinese Wall around the Electoral Roll team should be breached
rgds
Dom
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Old Oct 19th 2011, 9:24 pm   #66
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Smile Re: Voting Rights

Hello Domino,
I've just been looking at the US voting experience with their expat and overseas military personnel who I believe keep their right to vote where ever they are. A US report reveals that despite the availability of new technology, there was a notably low turnout of US overseas voters (76K) and military voters (118K) in 2010, all states combined. Our total 30K expat voters registered (and presumably mostly voting) doesn't look too bad then I suppose in comparison given the much larger US population (unless the relative expat populations are not in the same proportion). Perhaps their expats also like to keep a low profile wrt Uncle Sam! A major cause suggested is the discouragement of voters by difficulties introduced with US voting laws which result in less than two-thirds of eligible US citizens voting in presidential elections and less than 50% in mid-term elections.
The message for all democratic governments here is to make it as easy as possible for all eligible citizens to vote. As you suggest, as an expat if you have a passport to identify you, it's probably then easiest to be able to vote where you reside.
Kind regards,
Rod
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Old Oct 25th 2011, 5:08 pm   #67
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Default Re: Voting Rights

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rod_ph View Post
Hello Domino,
I've just been looking at the US voting experience with their expat and overseas military personnel who I believe keep their right to vote where ever they are. A US report reveals that despite the availability of new technology, there was a notably low turnout of US overseas voters (76K) and military voters (118K) in 2010, all states combined. Our total 30K expat voters registered (and presumably mostly voting) doesn't look too bad then I suppose in comparison given the much larger US population (unless the relative expat populations are not in the same proportion). Perhaps their expats also like to keep a low profile wrt Uncle Sam! A major cause suggested is the discouragement of voters by difficulties introduced with US voting laws which result in less than two-thirds of eligible US citizens voting in presidential elections and less than 50% in mid-term elections.
The message for all democratic governments here is to make it as easy as possible for all eligible citizens to vote. As you suggest, as an expat if you have a passport to identify you, it's probably then easiest to be able to vote where you reside.
Kind regards,
Rod
Hi Rod.
well I waited a few days to see if someone else would want to chime in on this but its still down to us two.

Glad to see the mighty US has the same or worse (percentage wise) as the UK with regard to offshore voting. Presumably the rest of the world has the same problem, including Australia where they have mandatory voting.

Yes, that idea of being allowed to register where you hang your hat could be a useful way of assisting peoples to integrate, on one side knowing that they are not disenfranchised whilst being taxed and on the other knowing that they newcomer will take an active interest in the well being of where they have dropped anchor.

I will be dropping anchor in Spain by Christmas so presumably will have to add the local electoral roll office on my list of things to do. But I know I don't have a councillor up for re-election in the locals next year.

Perhaps we will have to get a campaign running here in Spain, as there are supposed to be more expats here than anywhere else. But as the stories tell us some of them are unofficially here and wouldnt want anyone to know where they are, they are unlikely to register for a postal vote.

keep up the good work Rod
kind regards
Dom
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Old Oct 25th 2011, 8:05 pm   #68
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Originally Posted by Domino View Post
Hi Rod.
well I waited a few days to see if someone else would want to chime in on this but its still down to us two.

Glad to see the mighty US has the same or worse (percentage wise) as the UK with regard to offshore voting. Presumably the rest of the world has the same problem, including Australia where they have mandatory voting.

Yes, that idea of being allowed to register where you hang your hat could be a useful way of assisting peoples to integrate, on one side knowing that they are not disenfranchised whilst being taxed and on the other knowing that they newcomer will take an active interest in the well being of where they have dropped anchor.

I will be dropping anchor in Spain by Christmas so presumably will have to add the local electoral roll office on my list of things to do. But I know I don't have a councillor up for re-election in the locals next year.

Perhaps we will have to get a campaign running here in Spain, as there are supposed to be more expats here than anywhere else. But as the stories tell us some of them are unofficially here and wouldnt want anyone to know where they are, they are unlikely to register for a postal vote.

keep up the good work Rod
kind regards
Dom
Hello Domino,
Your invaluable assistance and feedback has been much appreciated in helping keep this Voting Rights thread going over the past few months . If only there were more like you to also have chipped in from time to time! I know you weren't too impressed when I mentioned going on to Twitter to spread the word further but I have the further news that I've also similarly launched a Facebook page upon the request of the campaigners against frozen pensions whose cause is now overlapping with having voting rights in terms of joint promotion. The next milestone is early November with the hearing in the high court in London of the case of James Preston, the expat Brit now living in Spain but having lost his vote after 15 years out of the UK.
Hopefully I'll be returning to this thread from time to time and , who knows, with that large base of expat Brits in Spain maybe we'll achieve something in the future..
Again, many thanks for your past contribution to keeping this thread running.
Kind regards,
Rod
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Old Oct 26th 2011, 3:40 pm   #69
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Smile Re: Voting Rights

Been meaning to ask on this thread what expat registration really is for UK and how you go about. Now that we are resident in Spain we have got our Padron and signed on the list of voters so last May we were able to vote in the Municipal Elections. I like to think we made a difference since the local Mayor who had inherited his seat from the previous incumbent who went before he was pushed (you know what I mean) now has no majority and only rules by the casting vote of the one communist member. Is'nt local politics wonderful!

We are still on the electoral roll in UK but that must be revised soon so we will have to find how to register as expats. I pay a lot of UK tax and I am a UK pensioner so all my financial affairs are at the whim of the UK Government as it says below... So I need to have my vote.

It is one thing to say we should all register for at least 15 years but how and where do you do it
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Old Oct 26th 2011, 5:46 pm   #70
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Originally Posted by John & Kath View Post
We are still on the electoral roll in UK but that must be revised soon so we will have to find how to register as expats. I pay a lot of UK tax and I am a UK pensioner so all my financial affairs are at the whim of the UK Government as it says below... So I need to have my vote.
It is one thing to say we should all register for at least 15 years but how and where do you do it
Hello John & Kath,
Thanks for your input to this thread.
According to the Electoral Commission you should go to www.aboutmyvote.co.uk to download a form and register.
Rod
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Old Oct 29th 2011, 8:53 am   #71
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This is just a note to say that yesterday 28th October was the deadline set for the British government's response to the European Court of Human Rights, before they consider their verdict on the case brought by WWII veteran Harry Shindler a long term resident in Italy. Harry is contesting the government's position that he has severed his links with the UK after more than 15 years away and has consequently lost his right to vote.
More on Harry Shindler's campaign can be found on our website www.votes-for-expat-brits.com.
Rod
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Old Oct 31st 2011, 2:11 pm   #72
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The response below from the Constitution Group in the Cabinet Office, seems to place voteless British Citizens overseas but still paying UK tax, in the same category as some foreign nationals living and paying tax in the UK and who are also not eligible to vote!

Thank you for your response to the Government’s consultation on Individual Electoral Registration. We have now closed the consultation and are currently reviewing all the responses that we have received. In your response to the white paper you have raised issues regarding the voting rights of British Citizens overseas. In light of your comments, it may be helpful if I set out the background to this issue.

As you may know, the Representation of the People Act 1985 provided for the first time for UK citizens living overseas to be able to register to vote in general and European Parliamentary elections in the UK. The voting rights of overseas electors did not continue indefinitely under the Representation of the People Act 1985, but for five years from the
time when the UK citizen was last resident and on the electoral register in the UK. Parliament decided to impose a time limit on the eligibility of overseas electors to vote because it was thought that generally over time their connection with the UK is likely to diminish. The length of the time limit has subsequently been changed over the years, first increasing to 20 years, then being reduced to 15 years since 1 April 2002.

The UK voting franchise is not based exclusively on being a UK tax payer, so it does not necessarily follow that, because someone pays taxes in the UK, he or she has the right to vote in the UK. Some foreign nationals living and paying tax in the UK are not eligible to vote.

However, I can confirm that the Government is considering whether the 15 year time limit remains appropriate. If a change is proposed Parliament will need to consider the
issue.

We will publish a formal response to the consultation in due course.

Regards,

The Electoral Registration Transformation Programme

Constitution Group, the Cabinet Office

4S2 | HM Treasury | 1 Horse
Guards Rd | Westminster | London | SW1A 2HQ

Rod
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Old Nov 2nd 2011, 11:46 am   #73
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The difficulties of dealing with a rather out-dated way of registering and then voting has been one objection raised by expats, given the more modern communications available in the internet age.
In the US, proponents argue that Internet voting would offer greater speed and convenience, particularly for overseas and military voters and, in fact, any voters allowed to vote that way.
However, computer and network security experts are virtually unanimous in pointing out that online voting is an exceedingly dangerous threat to the integrity of U.S. elections!
Whether you are interested in voting on-line or not, it's worth reading here about the security threats if you e.g. shop or bank on-line.
However, if we accept this degree of risk in continuing with our e-commerce transactions presumably we'd also be prepared to vote on-line?
Rod
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Old Nov 2nd 2011, 4:48 pm   #74
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Default Re: Voting Rights

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rod_ph View Post
The response below from the Constitution Group in the Cabinet Office, seems to place voteless British Citizens overseas but still paying UK tax, in the same category as some foreign nationals living and paying tax in the UK and who are also not eligible to vote!

Thank you for your response to the Government’s consultation on Individual Electoral Registration. We have now closed the consultation and are currently reviewing all the responses that we have received. In your response to the white paper you have raised issues regarding the voting rights of British Citizens overseas. In light of your comments, it may be helpful if I set out the background to this issue.

As you may know, the Representation of the People Act 1985 provided for the first time for UK citizens living overseas to be able to register to vote in general and European Parliamentary elections in the UK. The voting rights of overseas electors did not continue indefinitely under the Representation of the People Act 1985, but for five years from the
time when the UK citizen was last resident and on the electoral register in the UK. Parliament decided to impose a time limit on the eligibility of overseas electors to vote because it was thought that generally over time their connection with the UK is likely to diminish. The length of the time limit has subsequently been changed over the years, first increasing to 20 years, then being reduced to 15 years since 1 April 2002.

The UK voting franchise is not based exclusively on being a UK tax payer, so it does not necessarily follow that, because someone pays taxes in the UK, he or she has the right to vote in the UK. Some foreign nationals living and paying tax in the UK are not eligible to vote.

However, I can confirm that the Government is considering whether the 15 year time limit remains appropriate. If a change is proposed Parliament will need to consider the
issue.

We will publish a formal response to the consultation in due course.

Regards,

The Electoral Registration Transformation Programme

Rod
Well Rod, no change there then, as I hadnt expected any change there was nothing lost. I don't see that they have given any real reasons for rejections, but isnt that the way of the British Civil Service. Lets just tinker around with it every decade or so.

The only problem with the Fully Transferrable Vote is that would have to be passed by so many differing regimes, some so paranoid that only one white face is seen as a military take over. But I think it may be possible to get it through the EU regime, as being part of Article 8 of Human Rights.
This is something that may come but will not be in our lifetimes

Please keep up the flow of information
kind regards
Dom
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Old Nov 2nd 2011, 5:02 pm   #75
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Hello Domino,
Nice to hear from you again on the reply from the Constitutional Group in the Cabinet Office, although with your security experience I fully expected my posting on the threats from hackers of a less secure but more convenient on-line voting system to have caught your attention!
Kind regards,
Rod
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