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'Millions' of overseas voters 'not registered to vote'

Mon 19th Apr 2010

Expatriates who are eligible to vote in the upcoming British general election have expressed concerns over not knowing how to register, the Zawya Dow Jones news agency reports.

With millions of potential voters unsure how to register for their say in the election, and a hung parliament predicted by many political commentators, the overseas electorate could act as a decisive force on May 6th, particularly in marginal constituencies.

"It's not impossible that a few votes cast [by British expatriates] abroad could have a decisive effect in some very close seats," head of migration at the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) Tim Finch told the news agency.

An estimated 5.5 million British people live overseas and around 2.5 million of those are eligible to vote, according to IPPR figures.

Of these, just 13,987 overseas voters had registered by the end of 2009, the Electoral Commission's data indicated.

Expatriates hoping to vote in the election can find out more about registering online or could nominate someone living in their constituency to vote by proxy, but are warned that the expat deadline to register is Tuesday April 20th.

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