There’s a general election on the horizon in the United Kingdom after Prime Minister Boris Johnson called for a national vote on 12th December.
Britain goes to the polls to elect Members of Parliament in 650 constituencies, and the party with the most MPs will likely get the chance to form the next government – and shape what happens next with the UK’s departure from the European Union.
“This means in effect that the Brexit process has been suspended until the election result is known” says Tom Dodd, the British ambassador to Finland in an online video message.
So if you’re a British national in Finland, how can you vote?
Unfortunately it’s not possible to vote at the British Embassy in person, the only two choices are a postal vote or a proxy vote.
“Many of you will know that under UK law it’s possible for British nationals who have lived overseas for less than 15 years to vote in UK election” explains Dodd.
However, in order to vote, eligible British nationals must register with their local electoral district in the UK every singly year.
How to register to vote
The first step is making sure you’re registered to vote. The deadline is 11:59pm on 26th November.
Voters can register if you’re aged 16 or over (14 in Scotland) and a UK citizen or a commonwealth citizen with a permanent UK address.
However – even though you can register to vote at a younger age, you won’t actually be allowed to vote until you’re 18 in December’s general election, in all parts of the UK.
Find more information on how to register to vote at this link.
If you want to apply to vote by post, you must register before:
- 5pm on 26th November if your local electoral office is in England, Scotland or Wales;
- 5pm on 21st November in Northern Ireland.
“Given postal times, and the possibility of postal strikes in Finland, you may think that postal ballots might not arrive in time” warns the British ambassador.
You can find more information on how to apply for a postal vote at this link.
If you are unable to vote in person you can ask someone to vote on your behalf, and apply for a proxy vote if you are:
- Away from UK on polling day;
- Having a medical issue or disability that prevents you from going to the polling station;
- Unable to vote because of work or military service.
To apply for a proxy vote you must send a paper form to the local electoral office by 5pm on 4th December for England, Scotland or Wales. Find more information at this link.
In Northern Ireland there is a different proxy vote application process, and the deadline is 5pm on 21st November. Find more Northern Ireland information at this link.