EU citizens living in the UK should apply now to vote by post in this year local elections instead of having to queue up in the middle of the pandemic.


First published in January 2021.


This is our home. And we care about our home.

We care about having clean parks for our daily exercise during this lockdown. We care about how our local schools are run, about ensuring roads are safe, and yes, even about when bins are collected!

Local authorities are responsible for all of that and 2021 is a big year in local politics. City, County, District, Borough Councilors, Mayors, Police and Crime Commissioners... a lot of local politicians will be elected! And let’s not forget there are elections in the parliaments and assemblies of Scotland, Wales, and London.

The good news

EU citizens can still vote in the local elections this May.

So if you haven’t already, register to vote. Don’t forget you have to register to vote again if you change your address.

The practicalities

As things stand now, the local elections are still scheduled to go ahead on 6 May. The easiest way to vote safely during a pandemic is by post. To register by post, you have to fill in this form and then send your completed form to your local Electoral Registration Office. Some local offices also accept electronic copies of the form, so please check with them.

The challenge

According to Electoral Commission research, EU citizens are the least likely minority group to register to vote in the UK – just over 50% are registered. Young Europeans are even less likely to vote than EU citizens who have lived in the UK for longer. There is also a lot of misinformation on voting rights and many EU citizens may not even know they can still vote in 2021.

In Scotland and Wales, our right to vote in their parliamentary and local elections has been guaranteed in law. But our local election voting rights are not secured beyond these elections in May in England and Northern Ireland. The UK Government has a bilateral approach to voting rights and so far has only secured agreements with Spain, Portugal, Luxembourg, and Poland. Citizens of Malta and Cyprus can also vote as they are part of the Commonwealth.

The opportunity

We need to show that we are an active group of voters who cannot be ignored on the political level in the UK. We are thrilled to let you know that two team members are joining the youth wing of the3million, our Young Europeans Network. Antonia Boorman and András Juhasz will be our voter registration task force who will work on two funded campaigns by the Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust (JRRT) UK Democracy Fund and Andrew Wainwright Reform Trust (AWRT), respectively.

The funded campaign focusses on increasing voter registration in 4 local areas: Corby, Northampton (for both projects), Buckinghamshire (for András) and Peterborough (for Antonia). We will also have a national-level register to vote message for all EU citizens, with the help of our wonderful networks of volunteers across the UK.

Passionate about voting rights? We need you!

We need as many voices as possible for this EU voter registration drive. We are particularly looking for:

  • anyone living in our four local-level campaign areas (Corby, Northampton, Peterborough and Buckinghamshire) who can help us disseminate our voter registration materials locally;
  • anyone who wants to help spread the word in other areas of the UK;
  • anyone identifying as a young European who wants to be in our video materials targeted to young voters;
  • creatives, especially with digital skills.

Simply contact the3million to get involved.

Young Europeans in the UK

In addition, we are growing our network of Young Europeans. If you know young Europeans, family members or friends, let them know about our network and the opportunities to meet other young Europeans and to gain volunteering experience with the3million!

Join the Young Europeans Network

This is our home and our vote – we hope you will support and join in this campaign.  



Further Reading:




Alexandra Bulat and Lara Parizotto are the Co-Managers of the Young Europeans Network, the youth wing of the3million.

The3million, the largest group of EU citizens in the UK, with volunteers working on advocacy, policy, legal, media, social media, grassroots and events.

 

Did you know the3million is the leading non-profit organisation of EU citizens in the UK? If you can help their campaign to continue, you can:


 





[This piece was originally published in the3million newsletter and re-published in PMP Magazine on 24 January 2021, with the authors’ consent. | The authors write in a personal capacity.]

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(Cover: the3million newsletter. / Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.)