A systemic disenfranchisement of eligible voters may have occurred in today’s European Elections in the UK. EU citizens are being denied their vote all over the country.
First published in May 2019.
EU citizens in the UK have been denied their vote today when they showed up at their local polling stations because they are not marked as registered to vote.
Why? Some of them have simply not received their declaration forms by post from their Council, others have but their local authorities claim their forms have been lost, others received letters from their Councils saying ‘you don’t need to do anything more’... Some Councils have blamed the Electoral Commission for the mess, the Electoral Commission has blamed the local authorities.
It seems to be nobody’s fault.
A similar thing is also happening to British citizens living in the EU who have either never received their ballot papers to vote by post or received them too late to be able to vote.
Here is how the Electoral Commission first responded to Green MEP Molly Scott Cato regarding the situation:
Hi Molly. EU citizens living in the UK who wanted to vote here must have filled in a UC1 form and returned it to their local authority by 7 May. If they have any doubts about their eligibility to vote today, they should speak to their local authority. Thanks, BP.— Electoral Commission (@ElectoralCommUK) May 23, 2019
It was only later in the afternoon that the Electoral Commission finally published a statement aknowledging that voters were being turned away:
The office of the European Parliament in the UK posted an election rules reminder on Twitter and another reminder that complaints should be directed to local authorities as per Electoral Commission recommendations.
Citizens’ rights activist Gina Miller also took to Twitter this morning to ask those EU citizens turned away to get in touch with her organisation Remain United so they can make an official complaint for breach of voters rights.
All this could have been avoided...
Yesterday in Parliament, the SNP MP Joanna Cherry asked Theresa May whether her government could ensure, as an emergency measure, that all EU citizens who had not been able to register with the declaration form in time be allowed to fill in the form in their local polling station today when they would show up to vote.
Here is how the Prime Minister responded:
Finally, the3million has urging all EU citizens who are being turned away today to complain to the Electoral Commission using this template letter.
1) simply download template:https://t.co/DjykbUycp9— the3million (@the3million) May 23, 2019
2) use suggested case or write your own
3) fill in details in [.]
3) copy text into email and send to email provided.
For extra weight copy in your MP
All instructions & links on the MS Word download
Failure of democracy.
It has been over three weeks since us at PMP Magazine have reported on the highly likely situation in which EU citizens would end up being denied their vote in the European Elections. We even contacted the Electoral Commission and the Cabinet Office to ask them questions about it. There are now enough evidence to suggest that a much wider disenfranchisement than expected has happened.
“There are now enough evidence to suggest that a much wider disenfranchisement than expected has happened.”
This a complete failure from both national and local government, as well as the Electoral Commission, to ensure all eligible voters’ basic civic rights are being respected.
Had only one eligible voter been denied their vote in today’s elections, it would already be a failure of democracy. Hearing now that hundreds and probably more EU citizens in the UK and British citizens in the EU are being denied their vote, it makes it not only appalling, but shameful for all levels of government – showing their total inability to properly hold a simple democratic election.
“Had only one eligible voter been denied their vote in today’s elections, it would already be a failure of democracy. Hundreds and probably more EU citizens and British citizens being denied their vote makes it not only appalling, but shameful for all levels of government.”
The sheer incompetence of the current government has reached a level rarely seen in any democratic country. Do we now need UN election observers to come to oversee our elections and check all eligible voters are actually allowed to vote?
There will need to be an thourough investigation to understand whether what happened today was indeed due to incompetence or, as many already suggest, a blatant attempt to prevent democracy taking its course through voters suppression. After all, if it quacks like a duck...
“Do we now need UN election observers to come to oversee our elections and check all eligible voters are actually allowed to vote?”
Also, very impressive to see how the BBC has been relaying the news about EU citizens being denied their vote in the European Elections: zero article online – until 6.20pm!, and no mention on air – until 3.38pm!
Now, let’s just talk about Global Britain again instead...🔷
Following our reporting of today’s situation with EU citizens being denied their votes in polling stations, we have contacted the Electoral Commission and asked them some questions. Read our interview now.
Guy Verhofstadt MEP, President of the (liberals) and Brexit Coordinator for the European Parliament is aware of the situation and is calling for an investigation:
The situation in the UK is now being debated in the Dutch Parliament:
The office of the European Parliament in the UK has posted this updated which many might find useful when being denied to vote in polling stations:
According to @ElectoralCommUK's "Handbook for polling station staff", clerical errors in processing applications to vote can be corrected up to 9pm this evening and your name entered or reinstated on the register. You have until 10pm to vote.https://t.co/LY4cSTAkE2 #DeniedMyVote pic.twitter.com/W8btOMAClf— Europarl UK (@EPinUK) May 23, 2019
Voters take on Twitter to express their frustration.
Here are some of the EU citizens who shared on Twitter their experience at polling stations this morning (more posts are added as we continue to monitor the situation):
Had the same issue... Didn't receive my ballot although I had received confirmation of being registered successfully.#deniedmyvote— Nick Chanas (@Nick_Chanas) May 23, 2019
Copied My Polish friend, resident and has a business in Belfast, turned up with her polling card to station in Belfast and was told that no Europeans can vote in this election. Her name on list but scored out. I spoke with officer who confirmed this @JolyonMaugham #deniedmyvote— Florriebunder (@flojilly) May 23, 2019
went to my polling station just to check, and yep, definitely been #DeniedMyVote - there's a little 'G' next to my name on the register, which means I can't vote. Thanks @hackneycouncil, I really don't understand how this could happen.— Jakub Fiala (⧖) (@fiala__) May 23, 2019
#DeniedMyVote together w/ my fiancee. It's a great feeling to be a 2nd class citizen after 13 years of being UK resident.— Jan (@ArsenalPoland) May 23, 2019
Especially when @lutoncouncil ppl who did not sent the forms in time laugh and lie in your face.
"You could do it online sorry we advised you badly before". pic.twitter.com/0xiuygMMNk
Tried and turned away! Explained my situation,showed relevant pages of the Elec Comm’s handbook for polling stations,offered to fill in form again so they could amend the register (they have until 9pm to do so) but returning officer refused as not a clerical error! #DeniedMyVote— Claire Béarn 🇫🇷🇪🇺 (@FrenchClaire64) May 23, 2019
I downloaded and printed the form at the beginning of April. Council repeatedly told me they didn't need it as I was registered to vote just to be told 2 days before that they did need it and therefore me and my son were unable to vote #DeniedMyVote— Uli Martin (@UliMartin3) May 23, 2019
I called Lambeth Electoral Services but they say register can not be amended and that they never received EU citizen form I’ve delivered by hand. They told me to go vote at Polish Embassy (which I then called, it is closed).— SilverAgatka 🗝 (@SilverAgatka) May 23, 2019
I’ve been completely #DeniedMyVote
I complained to the locals @cardiffcouncil and it got me nowhere. They suggested I just vote in the next one. Two Italians struck from the register here. Nowhere does it say its a 2 part registration process. #EUelections2019 #DeniedMyVote— 🇮🇹🇺🇸🏴BLP Taylor (@BridgetLPTaylor) May 23, 2019
I'm one of them, I am registered but I apparently didn't fill an extra form that I never received, and I was told my live-in landlord, to whom I'm very close, had marked me as "absent" from the house I am still living in#DeniedMyVote #EuropeanElection2019— Jackin' Zone (@JackinZone) May 23, 2019
I’m a Swedish national and i’ve also been #DeniedMyVote even though i’m a registered elector and returned my form before the 7th of May. An absolute mockery of democracy!— S (@selma_wa) May 23, 2019
Council never send me any form to fill and send back to them. I was thinking that my online registration for voting will be enough. #DeniedMyVote— Mariusz (@GrabAWorld) May 23, 2019
My partner never received a second letter and he originally registered 2 years ago! #DeniedMyVote First we knew about any problem was when he could not vote. He has been receiving propaganda from political parties for weeks so presumed he was 100% registered.— TaxUncertainty (@RetroTaxImmoral) May 23, 2019
Yep, I am Dutch national living in Scotland for over 13 years, applied, but didn't get my polling card! Very angry!— Stirling Health Food (@HealthyStirling) May 23, 2019
Mum got this **yesterday*** with some helpful advice to ‘vote from your home country’— Alex Beattie (@alexandrabeat) May 23, 2019
She has lived here 39 yrs. worked in public services (health & Ed) entire time
She is demoralised and sad and angry
She sent the required form back to her LA#deniedmyvote #EUelection2019 pic.twitter.com/vAw2Idcgvr
Ta! I have rang them, and they told me I was #deniedmyvote, and could not go to the polling station with my now filled out UC1 form. I find it rather annoying that the confirmation of my reg in Bradford did not come with info that I'd need to do more for #EuropeanElection2019 😢— Dr Gaby Wolferink (@drgabywolferink) May 23, 2019
Same story here Lisa. Filled out the paperwork I was told to fill in order to vote. Apparently won't be processed until June 3. So I miss out on the only election I can actually take part in. #DeniedMyVote— Антуан (@Maratrovic_) May 23, 2019
#DeniedMyVote I went to the polling station, they had my name but it was crossed out. I had to insist so they’d explain why. Ended up calling a helpline who told me I was registered but hadn’t filled in a form that I didn’t know about. I’m VERY frustrated and angry.— Emeline Mimie Morin (@EmelineMMimie) May 23, 2019
Not only #EUinUK - also #UKinEU. My proxy vote card has not arrived despite numerous timely requests.— GrayanOne (@GrayanOne) May 23, 2019
This is *not* an accident.
On top of being de-registered without being told we now have to re-register every 12 months. #DeniedMyVote #EUElections2019
I'm a UK citizen living in Germany. Been #DeniedMyVote by incompetence at Derby City Council. Got a polling card in the post on Monday and no postal vote application. Also missed voting in 2017 GE as forms arrived after the election. 😡😠— Rebecca Amir (@RebeccaAmir) May 23, 2019
Just called Islington Electoral Services and was told they never received my form that I posted around mid/end April. As a result I cannot vote today #deniedmyvote this is really sickening— Jo_Hoff #FBPE (@Jo_Hoff) May 23, 2019
I posted form (way before deadline), my husband posted AND emailed (can prove date) and we were both marked as ineligible to vote at polling station. Called number I was given but no answer, no call back yet. @LewishamCouncil #DeniedMyVote— Marta Federici (@Marta_Fed) May 23, 2019
Did fill in the extra form, which I was pleased my council had sent out. When I did not receive pollling card I enquired: they claim they never received my form despite use of dedicated envelope. #DeniedMyVote— Gerrie van Noord (@gerrievannoord) May 23, 2019
I would have liked to have voted today but was #DeniedMyVote and was promptly turned away by polling station. I’m a EU citizen and have been here for over 20 years. I’ve always been able to vote.— Christiana ♥Banana (@_chrissydelishy) May 23, 2019