The Electoral Commission has not kept its promise to help EU citizens register to vote in the 2019 European Elections. As a result, thousands of EU citizens living in the UK will end up disenfranchised on 23 May. This is an insult to democracy.
The Electoral Commission refusing to keep its promise and mandate all councils to send the EU citizens’ registration forms for the European Elections will result in thousands of EU citizens being disenfranchised on 23 May.
Here is why.
In April, friends told me I could vote in the UK for the European Elections. I had no idea I could choose to vote in the UK back in 2014.
I believe I should vote in the country where my home and my life is. So, back in 2014, I didn’t vote anywhere. The vast majority of EU citizens are definitely not informed they have a choice. Most of my friends in the UK don’t vote in the European Elections either.
As soon as I found out I could vote, I sent the extra registration form in good time (11 April) by email to my local electoral registration office, in Cambridge.
The Office promptly replied the next day that the form had been received. So, I thought “that’s it, now let’s wait for the European Elections polling card”, right?
I waited, waited, waited, as my friends living elsewhere received their polling cards, I still didn’t. As I am a proactive person, I sent a follow-up email to check when the polling cards would be sent.
I was not registered!
So, here I was, a few hours before the deadline (today at midnight), realising that I was not registered to vote in the European Elections, despite having sent off the form almost a month ago!
I was told to send the form again instead and that emailed forms were accepted. I did just that and finally received a second confirmation. The real test for me now will be on 23 May.
I am not here blaming the workers at the Cambridge Office for this. The process has been as disorganised and confusing for them as it has been for EU citizen voters. I blame the Electoral Commission instead who literally had years to prepare for this and could have kept their promises from 2014.
The sad reality is that if I had not followed up by email and I had not read the response today, I would have showed up on 23 May for the European Elections and would have been turned away from the polling station.
This will happen to many!
This situation is an insult to democracy.🔷
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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.)