Following the recent letters regarding postal voting for expats in UK elections, I would like to share my experience in respect of "Proxy" voting.
At the last election we decided to use the kind offices of a friend who happened to live in the same constituency where we lived prior to moving to Majorca. Remember that one has to vote in the same area as your final address before leaving the UK. My proxy application was duly applied for and accepted and my friend received due confirmation in good time.
On voting day he visited his polling station and asked to use the proxy vote on our behalf. He was refused as our names were not on the register. It turned out that he had to go to the polling station designated to our address. Most people might have said "no way", but my friend was determined and took this step where he was told we were not on their list either. My friend became a "dog with a bone", gave them a right telling-off, to which they sheepishly had to agree. They asked him to return later (imagine his face). He returned home and e-mailed his MP’s office to report and complain. They, to their credit responded, saying they were taking this up immediately with the Registration Officer.
My friend, God bless him, returned to my voting station, where miraculously, our name appeared on the list and all became well.
What can one learn from this experience?
1. Ensure your proxy voter is a very good friend, has received the official notification of intent and he/she knows what your voting wish is.
2. If you use this method, make sure your proxy voter understands that they may have to visit another station to place your vote and they are willing to do this.
3. Vote early to ensure that if you are not on the list there is time to put things right, possibly with the help of your desired candidate.
4. Buy your proxy voter a nice bottle of wine!
The things one has to do to perform what is one’s democratic right. There may be plenty wrong with Euro bureaucracy, but the UK should look no further than it’s own inefficiencies both in central and local government before looking to criticise others. A case of a black kettle and a black pot!
I hope this salutary tale is of interest and possible help to your readers.
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