Anger after EU citizens turned away from polling stations

Written by Tom Freeman on 24 May 2019 in News

EU citizens complain after being unable to vote in the EU election in the UK

Ballot box - PA

Many EU citizens living in the UK have complained on social media after being unable to vote in the European Parliament election. 

The fact the election was only confirmed by the UK Government in May left a short period for EU citizens to complete a necessary form and get it processed by the local authority. 

On twitter, some said they had not been sent the form, or filled in the form only to be told at the polling station they were not eligible. 

The hashtag #deniedmyvote became trending in the UK. 

One, Louis, tweeted: "I didn't receive the UC1 form to participate in the European elections, being a French resident who lives and pays taxes in Scotland. It's too late to register to vote for the French elections at the consulate (the deadline was march 31st). The UK #DeniedMyVote"

A spokesperson for the Electoral commission said: “The very short notice from the government of the UK's participation in these elections impacted on the time available for awareness of this process amongst citizens, and for citizens to complete the process. 

"EU citizens' right to vote in the election in their home member state remains unaffected by the change in the UK's participation; in order to do so, they would need to be registered in that country in accordance with that country's process and timetable.” 

The prime minister's spokesman said: “I'm aware of the reports but the government doesn't have a role in the administration of the polls so can't comment on numbers or the accuracy of reports. 

"However I recognise that there is frustration.” 

SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford said it was “heartbreaking” to see so many denied a vote.  

“The UK government must urgently look into today’s reports and find out exactly what went wrong,” he said.  
 
“EU nationals have already faced increased uncertainty and instability due to the Tories’ hostile Brexit approach, they should not now have to face an uphill battle in order to simply cast their votes over their future.” 

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie said: “The government has totally failed in its duty to ensure that EU citizens' voices are heard. 

 
"The Government must be held to account for this bureaucratic shambles."

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