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In 2000, the Government amended the law to ensure that people who do not have leave to enter or remain in the UK may not be included in the electoral register, and consequently are not entitled to vote. This note looks at how immigration status relates to electoral franchise.


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  • The Armed Forces can register to vote as ordinary electors, as overseas voters, or as service voters. There has been concern about the under-registration of the Armed Forces, especially those serving overseas, and the difficulties they face in participating in the electoral process more generally.The Note also gives a brief history of how the system of voting by members of the Armed Forces has changed, particularly during the periods directly after each World War.

  • British citizens living overseas are currently entitled to be registered to vote in UK Parliamentary elections for up to 15 years in the constituency they were registered in before leaving the UK. The Government has committed to end the 15-year limit and introduce 'votes for life'. This Briefing Paper provides details of the provisions relating to overseas voters in the Representation of the People Act 1985 and the proposals for change. It also summarises earlier attempts to change the 15 year rule.