Whether you are British, from the Commonwealth, the EU or a non-EU country, we are all local residents. We pay the same taxes and deserve to have our views represented on how public services are run.

First published in August 2020.

I am a Romanian citizen and will soon officially become Romanian and British, once the citizenship ceremonies reopen in my area.

I have always felt very strongly about being able to vote at home, where I live – in the UK.

At the3million, I am coordinating the Young Europeans volunteers’ network, which is a (now online) space for young Europeans to discuss citizens’ rights and get involved. Many of us are passionate about voting rights campaigning and we launched a new social media campaign: #OurHomeOurVote.

The idea behind the campaign is very simple and continues the3million’s #LetUsVote campaign. Regardless of where we are born, we are all local residents, pay the same taxes, so we need to have a say on how local services are run.

The good news is our local election voting and candidacy rights as EU citizens have been guaranteed for the 2021 local elections so please make sure you are registered (https://www.gov.uk/register-to-vote) and vote on the day!

Register to vote now!

However, beyond 2021, our rights are up for negotiation – except for those of us who live in Wales and Scotland, where the devolved nations have passed legislation to grant all residents local voting rights in the future.

The UK Government’s bilateral negotiation approach will mean that after 2021, some EU citizens will still be able to vote, while others will not, despite all of us being promised in 2016 that we will be treated ‘no less favourably than at present.’

Statement by Michael Gove, Boris Johnson, Priti Patel, and Gisela Stuart. / VoteLeaveTakeControl

You can read more about the facts on democratic rights on the3million’s website at https://www.the3million.org.uk/let-us-vote-campaign

the3million is campaigning for the whole UK to adopt the model from Scotland and Wales and to let all residents have a say in local-level matters. We are all part of our local communities and we should have proper representation.

Keeping and expanding our democratic rights will be an important campaign issue in the next months. But first, we need to raise awareness of why local politics matters and why we want these democratic rights.

This is why I am inviting you to send a short (landscape mode) video answering this question: Why is local politics important to you?

You can see some examples on the3million’s Twitter, Facebook or Instagram pages:

We’ll do the editing and subtitling, so it only takes you a few minutes to record using your phone.

Everyone can participate, whether you are an EU citizen or non-EU citizen affected or a British citizen wanting to show solidarity. Please contact us if you wish to be involved and for any questions.

If you cannot send us a video, please use the hashtag #OurHomeOurVote and share the3million’s posts on social media to amplify the campaign. We will have videos from residents as well as politicians every day this week until Sunday.

This is our home and we need both rights and representation in our communities.🔷

Alexandra Bulat,
the3million’s Young Europeans Manager.

[This piece was originally published in the3million newsletter and re-published in PMP Magazine on 4 August 2020, with the author’s consent. | The author writes in a personal capacity.]

(Cover: Bristol City Council.)

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