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Registered for a postal vote in the UK referendum? It might not be enough

If, like me, you registered for a postal vote thinking this would be sufficient, think again

Peter Harrison

Published: Updated:

This is a call to all British expats out there hoping to vote in the EU referendum later this month. If, like me, you registered for a postal vote thinking this would be sufficient to take part in what could ultimately be one of the most important votes in your life, think again.

About a week ago I received an email from the council I had registered with in the UK, telling me that my postal vote would be sent at the beginning of June.

This might sound fine – but post can take up to two weeks to reach me from the UK here in Dubai and then about the same to send it back. At that rate I would miss the deadline for the referendum by days or even weeks.

There’s a simple fix for this – apply for a vote by proxy – apply for someone else to vote on your behalf. Only problem for me was that I don’t know anyone living in the town where I was registered, so it was looking like I was going to lose my referendum vote despite trying to take part.

Thankfully it appears that my mother has kept me on the register at her address and I have managed to fill out and send the relevant form allowing her to vote on my behalf.

The deadline date for a proxy vote is June 15 – all you need to do is upload the form from the UK Government website, fill it out and email it back to the election office at your council.

Now it might seem strange for me to run what is effectively a public information notice on a vote taking place in the UK. But this could be the most important vote that our generation takes part in.

Whichever way you vote, and whatever the outcome, I believe this one vote will impact the country and Brits everywhere for many years to follow.

Leave the EU and many believe David Cameron will stand down as Prime Minister. It will, in my view, also mean a reassessment of legislation created as a result of our former membership with the EU that is no longer relevant. Remain and it is equally likely that our current role within the EU will change significantly.

It’s important to take part in this vote – our grandparents risked their lives for this right to exist – and I believe we owe it to them to take part in this crucial vote. The referendum takes place on June 23.