Anti-Brexit campaigners in Britain are appealing to British expats in Cyprus to help save the UK.
The campaigners – Proxy Voters Against Brexit – fear that Brexit will break up the UK, will harm Britain’s economy, will trigger years of further economic uncertainty and will threaten Cypriot and other business confidence in Britain.
They are appealing to all the Britons living in Cyprus to register to vote in next month’s UK general election – and then make sure their vote is cast by appointing a proxy to vote on their behalf.
Under British law, voters who cannot vote in person, can appoint another person (known as a proxy) to vote on their behalf.
In order to help anti-Brexit Britons living abroad, pro-remain activists in the UK have set up a special online system to pair pro-remain expats with pro-remain proxies in hundreds of UK Parliamentary constituencies. Many users have described it as a dating service for voters.
Voters living outside of the UK are prompted to enter the Postcode of where they are registered to vote. This is then matched against 1,000’s of postcode for anti-Brexit campaigners and if a close match is found an introduction is made.
Like a dating site, the pair meet up electronically and decide if to proceed or, if they are not politically compatible, look for another match.
After just 3 weeks, already hundreds of matches have been made with people signing up all the time.
“The only real way we can stop Brexit is through a second referendum – to say yes or no to the government’s Brexit deal, and to remain in the EU if the voters say no to the deal,” said Nigel Grey, the proxy campaign’s founder.
“But to get a second referendum, we need to defeat Boris Johnson and his Conservative Party in next month’s general election.
“Almost certainly, the only way to achieve that is for people to vote tactically in each constituency – in order to secure victory for as many pro-second-referendum candidates as possible.
“Every vote will count – that’s why we are appealing to thousands of British anti-Brexit expats in Cyprus to register to vote online and then use our new online system to appoint a pro-second referendum proxy.
“As far as we know, this is the first time such a system has been used anywhere in the world”,
The service can be accessed by registering on the groups Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/RemainProxyVoters or by Direct Messaging @BritsfortheEU on twitter.
The group uses Facebook groups and simple Google Forms, Sheets and Maps to facilitate expat/proxy pairing.
In order to be able to vote in the 12 December UK general election, voters must register to vote with the UK authorities by 11:59pm (UK time) on 26 November – and, in order to then be able to vote by proxy, their proxy application forms need to have been received by the relevant UK authorities by 5 PM (UK time) on 4 December for England, Scotland and Wales or by 5 PM (UK time) on 21 November for Northern Ireland.
Expats are allowed to vote in UK general elections, if they left the UK within the last 15 years and were previously registered there.