Brexit Mythbusters

British citizens living overseas for 15 years or more lose the right to vote

Many of the British living in the EU-27 were unable to vote in the EU referendum because of the 15-year rule. This means that British emigrants living outside of the United Kingdom for 15 years or more lose their right to vote in national elections and referenda in the UK.

There is currently a private members' bill progressing through the House of Commons which seeks to secure Britain's emigrants the right to vote in national elections and referenda for life. In the 2016, the numbers of British citizens living overseas registered to vote rose from 35,000 to 264,000, likely the consequence of concerns about what Brexit would mean for this population and also the ease of the newly introduced electronic registration system. However, this was also a time when many British citizens living in the EU-27 discovered—for the first time—that they had become disenfranchised and were not eligible to vote. 

The project team have been following the parliamentary debates about extending the vote to a vote for life for Britain's emigrants. To find out more, read:

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