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Overseas Electors: Rolling Registration

Volume 622: debated on Monday 19 February 2001

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asked Her Majesty's Government:Whether an overseas elector, as defined in Schedule 2 to the Representation of the People Act 2000, has the right by completion of an Overseas Elector's Declaration Form and acceptance by the appropriate registration officer to be enrolled on a United Kingdom rolling register in time to vote in a parliamentary election, with effect from 16 February 2001; and [HL693]What pubicity will be made available to ensure that anyone covered by Schedule 2 to the Representation of the People Act 2000 is aware of it and has sufficient time to act accordingly; and [HL694]Whether overseas voters will be entitled to vote in any referendum after 16 February 2001. [HL695]

The ability of an overseas elector to vote in a Parliamentary election will depend upon the date of the election and the date on which the Overseas Electors Declaration is made. Overseas voters will be included on the register to the same deadlines as any other applicant under "rolling-registration.I understand that the Foreign and Commonwealth Office has circulated to all posts information about the legislative changes relating to overseas electors and has asked them to publicise this information amongst the expatriate community as appropriate. Revised explanatory information and an Overseas Electors Declaration form will be available in due course.The Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000 does not deal with the question of who is entitled to vote in any national or regional referendum to which Part VII of the Act applies. The normal practice has been for the legislation providing for a particular referendum to specify the persons entitled to vote.In the case of a referendum held under Part II of the Local Government Act 2000, Section 45(4) of that Act provides that for any such referendum the electorate would comprise those persons entitled to vote at local government elections in the area of the authority conducting the referendum. Overseas voters are not entitled to vote in local government elections.