Every EU citizen living in the UK can, and should, vote at the European Parliament elections on 23 May. However, many could very well miss out because of some unnecessary extra paperwork. Some MPs have taken Government to task in Parliament.
In Parliament yesterday morning, the Labour MP for Hornsey and Wood Green Catherine West raised the important issue of potential disenfranchisement of EU citizens from the European Parliamentary Elections that take place on 23 May, due to the extra declaration form they need to fill in and the short window of time to return these forms (Deadline: 7 May).
The Labour Shadow Minister for Cabinet Office Jo Platt MP then put forward four demands to minimise EU citizen disenfranchisement for the EU Elections:
- Extended deadline to return forms, from 7 May to 15 May;
- Handing out forms during local elections;
- Increased spend on informing EU citizens;
- Allowing scanned/emailed forms.
Whilst the Chairman of the Conservative Party and Minister Brandon Lewis said that the Government had informed EU citizens that they can vote in their ‘home countries’, the Labour MP Hilary Benn called it an insult as EU citizens consider the UK as their home. He then urged the Government to ensure declaration forms are sent out.
The CUKTIG MP Sarah Wollaston added that “telling EU citizens to ‘go-home-and-vote’ is an absolute insult. This is their home. And none of this shambles is any of their making.”
Then, the Plaid Cymru MP Ben Lake made a very important point. The information campaign to inform EU citizens that they can vote in the EU Elections must not be online only but has to be offline too.
Last but not least, the SNP MP Patrick Grady raised the important issue of EU citizens being included in the franchise should there be a People’s Vote.
We agree. The UK is our and our children’s home too.
What can EU citizens do in the meantime?
If you want to vote in the UK on 23 May 2019 as an EU citizen, you must:
Note: If you fail to follow steps 2 and 3, you will be turned away on election day.
If you live in Northern Ireland, steps 2 and 3 are different. Please visit the Electoral Office for Northern Ireland website for more information.
If you are already on the electoral register, you MUST still:
Note: If you fail to follow steps 1 and 2, even if you are on the Electoral Register, you will be turned away on election day.
Also, If you have voted in previous EU elections in the UK and already downloaded and sent the EU Parliament voter registration form at the time, you MUST still send a new form to your local Electoral Registration Office.
We have a voice and, through our vote, we can make it heard. Make sure that you too can say #ThistimeImvoting and let’s make sure that all 3 million EU citizens vote.🔷
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(This piece was first published as a Twitter thread and turned into the above article, with the author’s consent, with the purpose of reaching a larger audience. It has been minorly edited and corrected. | The author of the tweets writes in a personal capacity.)