It can’t have escaped your attention that there is a general election looming in the UK. You might not know this, but it isn’t just British citizens who can vote. We’ve put together some information and useful links here to help you with the democratic process.
Promote the vote
This is a really important election for migrants and black and minority ethnic people in the UK. Even if you are not able to vote, you can get involved to help people to understand the system, to register and to get out and vote on December 12th. Check out the Promote the Migrant Vote website for information, action materials, events and activities.
On the 6th November, Parliament was dissolved. This means that MPs will no longer attend parliament, and in fact they technically stopped being MPs and became Prospective Parliamentary Candidates, known as PPCs.
On 16th November, the full list of PPCs for every constituency was published. See below for finding out who is standing in your area.
26th November is the voter registration deadline. To vote in a general election, you first need to register. If you haven’t registered yet, you have until midnight on the 26th. You can register at the Government website, here. Read on for details of who can vote, and how.
Tuesday 12 December is polling day. Unless you are voting by post, you cast your vote for your local candidate at a Polling Station. These will be open from 7:00am – 10:00pm
The results will be published throughout the night and early hours of the morning. By mid-morning on Wednesday 13th December we will have a good idea what the next Parliament will look like. If no majority is won by any party, the leader of the biggest party will enter into talks with others about forming a coalition government or a confidence and supply arrangement.
Who can vote?
To be able to vote in a general election, you need to be 18 years of age or older, and either a British citizen, an Irish citizen, or hold a “qualifying Commonwealth citizenship.” It is estimated that there are around 895,000 qualifying Commonwealth citizens eligible to vote.
Qualifying Commonwealth citizens
A qualifying Commonwealth citizen is someone who is a citizen of one of 53 Commonwealth countries, and has leave to enter or remain in the UK. This includes Commonwealth citizens who are resident in Britain for example to work or study, with valid leave to enter or remain, or who have been granted refugee status or another form of leave to remain.
Interestingly, it also includes Zimbabweans (with leave to remain) even though Zimbabwe is no longer a Commonwealth nation. It does not include people seeking asylum, as they do not yet have leave to remain.
So, if you are from Zimbabwe, Pakistan, Nigeria, or any other Commonwealth country, and you have leave to enter or leave to remain, then you can vote in the election.
You can check the full country list here. But remember – you have to be registered if you want to vote, and you only have until midnight on 26th November to register.
Registering to vote
If you aren’t registered to vote, you won’t have a say on the person who is elected to represent you. So make sure you register! Registering to vote only takes 5 minutes online if you have your address and your National Insurance number to hand. If you don’t have, or can’t find your National Insurance number, don’t worry – you can still register. If you don’t have a permanent address, you can still vote. And if you can’t get to a polling station on election day, you can vote by post, or even get someone else to go and vote for you.
Find out all about registering and voting at the Promote the Migrant Vote website
Where to vote
You need to vote at your local Polling Station (unless you are voting by post). If you are not sure where this is, there should be information on your polling card. You don’t need the card, or any other ID to vote (as long as you are registered). Using your postcode, you can find your local Polling Station via the Where Do I Vote? website.
Who to vote for?
Obviously we aren’t going to advise you on that. You have to make a choice between your local candidates, who will be representing a political party or sometimes standing as an independent, not aligned to any of the parties.
The Who Can I vote For website is a great place to find out about your PPCs. Simply enter your postcode, click the button, and you will find a list of the candidates in your area. Then under each candidate you can click the learn more button to find their contact details and links to their social media accounts to get more info on what they are saying, what they stand for.
SUPPORT OUR WORK
On reaching the UK, people face a hostile environment. Without help, many will be forcibly sent back to the wars, persecution and misery they have fled.
Your donation will help us to help people in their struggle for the right to remain in the UK, and to campaign for migration justiceDONATE TO RIGHT TO REMAIN