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Brits in Norway, Register to Vote!

UK General Election

It's hard to believe almost five years have passed. On 6 May 2010, I stood inside Birmingham's National Indoor Arena, home to one of the largest election counts in the country, and watched as Nick Clegg announced his intention to discuss a coalition agreement with David Cameron and the Conservative Party. It would eventually become the first ever UK coalition government to result from a General Election.

A lot has changed in five years.

The outcome of this year's General Election looks just as uncertain as last time, and it's been made all the more difficult to predict by UKIPs by-election successes and the decline in support for the Liberal Democrats. Labour and the Conservatives are neck-and-neck in the polls leaving another hung parliament a distinct possibility.

So, my fellow Brits living in Norway, make sure you register to vote as it could well make a difference.

You may not know it, but British expats remain eligible to vote in the UK General Election as long as you have been out of the country for no longer than 15 years.

Registering to vote is simple and can be done online at gov.uk/register-to-vote. You just need your National Insurance number and last address in the UK (where you were registered to vote). You will also need to register for either a postal or proxy vote during the same process.

Your vote will count in the constituency where you were last registered in the UK. In my case, this is a Conservative stronghold so my vote is unlikely to make the difference it would in a marginal seat, but that's not really the point.

The Conservatives are running an voter registration awareness campaign targeted at expats. Presumably they believe a high proportion of us will vote for them. I won't be, but thanks to their campaign I am now registered to vote against them.

Thanks, Dave & George 😉

Photo credit: Simon Clayson

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About the Author: David Nikel

Originally from the UK, David now lives in Trondheim and was the original founder of Life in Norway back in 2011. He now works as a freelance writer for technology companies in Scandinavia.

2 Comments

  1. sadly I disagree with this. 99.9% of governance of a country applies to the people LIVING there. As an ex-pat (immigrant elsewhere) I do not qualify. So why should I have the right to help control the laws of a country I no longer live in?
    I would prefer if ALL countries gave full voting rights to people living in and are legally registered in that country, and who are affected by these laws, rather than what passport you hold while living elsewhere.
    I lived in Norway 11 – 12 years but was only ever allowed to vote in local elections
    I could never vote in the COUNTRY elections that mattered to me. Yet I was allowed to vote in a country I left long ago and had no bearing to me. How is that fair? to me OR the UK?
    Until countries wake up to the fact that people DO move around, and voting rights NEED to apply to those people living a country, not where their passport says they belong, or their parent’s passport says they do, the world is screwed

  2. see also http://www.votes-for-expat-brits,com
    The desire or need to have a say- be represented – in the Government of your National country certainly varies from person to person dependent on your circumstances.
    In Europe (the EU/EEA) Most States listen to their Citizens wherever they live. The EU Commission claims it as a Citizens Right.
    One can well argue that one should have democratic representation to any government at any level where the laws of that governance have any impact on your Social/Fiscal/Cultural life. In that regard one is sympathetic with the view of Norsk-Himmel. But as I said the need for representation is much wider than that narrow view. The younger age groups who migrate from one country to another MAY stay in one State to become almost a national of that State. Others move around from State to State but remain always a national of the place where they were born and spent their formative years. A Nation comprises the collectivity of the citizens NOT the hills, rivers, and towns. All those citizens (let us say British – though the argument applies to all ‘nations’ ) will have feelings about the role of Britain in the World, the social security of their relations still in Britain, even the stability and economy of Britain for their own interest – they may one day wish to return! They may have investments – a pension fund for example – in the UK.
    There are 450,000 British pensioners living in the wider EU. All receive a State Pension from the UK. Many are actually taxed by the UK (all ex-military/ local and national Government workers – teachers- policemen etc.) Their savings and investments are regulated by the UK. They have children and other relatives in the UK.
    All, young and old, are de facto Ambassadors of the British way of life where they live as ‘strangers’ of some kind in the State where they are resident. They are ‘representatives’ of Britain even if the British Government does not represent them – nor listen to them.
    Remember further, that Britain makes treaties with other nations (and of course the EU including Norway EEA) and large numbers of Britons can only live where they do because of such Treaties. The Pensioners depend on such treaty agreements for their health care support. If the UK leaves the EU -many pensioners will need to fold up and return back to the UK. YET as things stand a referendum in the UK will exclude large numbers of European British expatriates from voting. This is not democracy!
    I myself have no vote for any National Government because I have lived outside the UK (In France) for more than 15 years. My views as a British citizen are ignored everywhere.
    To end – I should have representation as a British citizen to my nation State and also be able to be be represented in French elections along with my French neighbours. The same should apply in reverse with French citizens in London. – Pari-passu Norwegians/ Italians etc.
    If you desire to be on a mailing list concerning such things – contact [email protected]

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