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British expats reminded of right to vote

As the prospect of a general election in the UK draws ever nearer, Britons living abroad are being urged to use their vote.

Estimates from the Electoral Commission suggest that fewer than 13,000 of the 5.5 million Britons living abroad are on the electoral register.

While not all expats are entitled to a vote, those who have been living abroad for less than 15 years are allowed to be on the register.

Overseas residents can apply to vote either by post or by proxy – and as a general election will be called at some point between now and June 2010, expats are being urged to register sooner rather than later.

Deputy chairman of the Conservative Party with responsibility for Conservatives Abroad Philip Dunne told the Telegraph: "The number of expats currently registered is pitiful, so we are working hard to try to raise awareness about the ability to vote."

He added that should this group register in sufficient numbers, they could have a "critical impact" on the outcome of the forthcoming general election.

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