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#DeniedMyVote: EU Citizens' Fury As They Are Stopped From Voting In European Election
24 May 2019, 07:33 | Updated: 24 May 2019, 10:45
There are calls for a full and urgent investigation into why some EU citizens living in the UK were unable to vote in yesterday's European elections.
Hundreds if not thousands of EU citizens were turned away from polling stations yesterday as a result of a variety of administrative errors. In many cases they were eligible voters who have been living here and voting here for years.
The most common problem seems to relate to a new form that was introduced in 2014 and imposed a new requirement on EU citizens to declare they would only vote in the U.K. and not in their home country.
The Electoral Commission says it is aware of the reports blamed late notice from the Government that the poll would be going ahead.
Koldo Casso is among those who couldn't vote in London. He told LBC: "I'm still really angry about it.
"The irony of the whole thing is that I could have voted in my home country, but I chose to vote here because I thought that you should vote where you live and have your life.
"London is my home."
Sandra, a German National, filled out the correct form with her boyfriend, also an EU National. They posted them at the same time from the same postbox, but was told by the council that her boyfriend was registered but she wasn't.
Others took to social media to complain using the hashtag #DeniedMyVote.
Turned away from polling station this morning. Told I should vote in my EU member state. Called local council yesterday, they confirmed I could vote. Called again today. Apparently council had no time to send out forms to all EU residents. Nothing they can do now #DeniedMyVote— Agata Patyna (@APatyna) May 23, 2019
So after 13 years here, how do I feel when I see my name ACTIVELY CROSSED OUT on the list?! Uk, you have outdone yourself. #DeniedMyVote— kasia bera (@scullingmonkey) May 23, 2019
The 3 Million group, which campaigns for the rights of EU nationals in Britain, has demanded a full investigation.
A spokesperson said: "These European elections are significant to so many EU citizens as this might potentially be the last nationwide vote before our voting rights will be downgraded to potholes and bin collections in local elections," a spokesman said.
"The Electoral Commission, but also local authorities, must urgently answer why so many people were denied their right to vote.
"It is outrageous that the incompetence and unwillingness of the Government and the Electoral Commission have denied these people a vote."
A Downing Street spokesman said: "I do recognise there is frustration. The running of polls is rightly a matter for independent returning officers.
"It's for them to put in place the necessary planning and contracts with suppliers to produce and deliver items like poll cards and postal votes to meet necessary timetables.
"I'm sure the Electoral Commission will take any reports seriously."
A Local Government Association insisted the running of the polls is the responsibility of individual councils, adding: "Councils are hugely experienced at running elections and have worked tirelessly around the clock to get everything in place for these EU elections at short notice."