Living in Geneva but still hooked into the politics of your home country? The AIWC has members from many different countries. Our top three nationalities (excluding French and Swiss members) are the US, Canada and the UK.
Here we look at how to vote as an overseas voter for these three countries – but do please add the info for your country too and make this a great resource!
You can vote for 15 years after leaving the UK, as long as you are a British or Irish citizen and you (or your parents if you were under 18 when you left) were already registered to vote.
You simply go on line and register to vote https://www.gov.uk/register-to-vote. Simple as that if you lived in England, Scotland or Wales. Those in Northern Ireland have to register with a paper based form. As this stage you also select if you wish to vote by post or by proxy. Always make sure you have time to receive and return your ballot papers by polling day. To check when postal votes are being sent out contact the local authority of the address you are registered at which is your last UK address.
You do need to renew your registration every year but a reminder email is sent so there are no excuses! And if you do not renew your registration, you’ll be removed from the register and must make a fresh application in order to vote again.
As an overseas voter you can definitely vote in Parliament and European Parliament elections (if we remain in the EU) and you may be able to vote in referendums but each has different rules on who can vote in it.
If you happen to be in the UK on election day, you can always vote in person at the polling station allocated to the address in the UK for which you qualified to be registered as an overseas elector. However, if you have appointed a proxy you can only do this if your proxy has not already voted on your behalf. If you have a postal vote, you cannot be issued with a ballot paper in the polling station but you can hand in your completed postal ballot at the polling station.
Mark your calendars! The AIWC, in collaboration with American Citizens Abroad, the American International Club of Geneva, Democrats Abroad and Republicans Overseas, is hosting an absentee voting information session on Thursday, February 6, 2020.
Two sessions will be offered, from 17:00 – 18:30 and 19:00 – 20:30. Registration is obligatory. More details below:
For those who can’t make the February meeting, here are some useful tips: To vote from abroad as a US citizen, you will need to send in the ballot request form (Federal Post Card Application (FPCA)) for every calendar year you wish to vote. Federal law guarantees the right of US citizens living outside the US to vote in federal elections (and their corresponding primaries), but each state determines the right to vote in state and local elections.
For more details, and to fill out your FPCA form online, you can visit the non-partisan site Vote from Abroad.
For Canadians living abroad, you can vote by mail. To do so, you must be at least 18 years old on election day and have lived in Canada at some point in your life.
You can apply to vote by mail any time before an election, even before it has been called. You can apply online here. Once your application is approved, you will be added to the International Register of Electorsand will receive a special ballot voting kit. Simply fill it out and mail it back. It must be received by Election Day.
For more details, visit Elections Canada.
Tell us your experience with voting while living abroad in the comments below!
We are a group of international women living in Geneva, Switzerland. If you would like to join the AIWC, please visit our website at http://www.aiwcgeneva.org/