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ON Thursday May 5, many British citizens living abroad will have the opportunity to vote in the first UK-wide referendum in 35 years. But they need to act now, says the Electoral Commission, the independent UK elections watchdog.

Electoral Commission Head of Campaigns, Clinton Proud says: “The referendum gives voters the chance to have their say on how MPs are elected to the House of Commons. “In order to vote, you will need to be on the electoral register. “We know that many of the 5.5million British citizens living abroad are eligible to vote, but are not registered. “Distance doesn't mean you can't make your voice heard. “You can apply to vote by post or by proxy; the forms to do this, and to register to vote, are all available on our website: www.aboutmyvote.co.uk. “The deadline to register is Thursday 14 April - so now is the time to act,” Proud said yesterday.
The Electoral Commission is responsible for the conduct of the referendum on May 5, and has instructed Counting Officers in Britain to send out ballot papers to voters overseas a early as possible after 14 April.

The question being put to voters on Thursday 5 May is: n “At present, the UK uses the ‘first past the post' system to elect MPs to the House of Commons. Should the ‘alternative vote' system be used instead?” n Vote (X) in one box only.” (Yes or No).