For immediate release
New Europeans launch Voter Registration Campaign
London, 5 February 2014 – New Europeans, a London-based organisation, launches a Voter Registration Campaign on 5 February, the anniversary of the Great Reform Act in 1832 which first introduced voter registration. The initiative aims to raise awareness of this year’s European and local elections among the 2.5 million citizens from other European Union countries who are currently living temporarily or permanently in the United Kingdom.
Promoting the value and values of European citizenship, New Europeans is calling all the EU citizens from the UK to vote in the local and European elections which take place on 22 May 2014. It plans to distribute letters including the relevant information for voting to all members of the 27 EU communities currently living in the UK. The letters are jointly signed by New Europeans and leading cultural organizations within the respective communities.
The campaign starts today, 5 February, with letters being sent to three communities of EU citizens: the Italian community, the Polish community and the Romanian community. These three communities have been chosen as they represent three different waves of EU citizens which settled in the UK since 1975 when Britain became an EU member. The oldest established community among the three chosen groups the Italian community will be approached via the Federation of Italian Associations in the UK. The Polish community which has significantly grown since 2004 will receive the joint letters from the Federation of Poles in Great Britain. The campaign will target the Romanians as the most recently-established community since 2007, via the Romanian Cultural Centre, London.
There are over 2.5 million citizens from other EU countries who are currently residing in the United Kingdom. Latest data show that that the voter registration amongst eligible EU voters in Britain was only 56% in 2011 compared to 82% in the general population. This means that almost half of the EU citizens who are eligible to vote in the European elections in Britain are not yet on the electoral register.
In order for the citizens to be able to vote, they need to register in advance with their local councils or alternatively they can register online on the Electoral Commission’s website.
Roger Casale, Chairman, New Europeans said: ‘There is a lot at stake in this year’s European Parliamentary elections. By the time of the next elections in 2019, the UK may have left if at the referendum in 2017 the British vote for the UK to leave the EU. As a consequence, the EU citizens might lose their right to live, work and vote in Britain.’
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NOTES TO THE EDITOR
About New Europeans
Launched in June 2013 at the House of Commons, the New Europeans is an association which promotes the rights of the EU citizens, including the right to freedom of movement and the right to vote in local and European elections wherever they live in the EU. The organisation is chaired by the former Labour MP for Wimbledon, Roger Casale. More information can be found at www.neweuropeans.net
About the Voter Registration Campaign
The Romanian Cultural Centre in London (www.romanianculturalcentre.org.uk )
Federation of Poles in Great Britain (http://zpwb.org.uk/ )
Federation of Italian Associations in the UK
Citizens of other EU member states resident in the UK have the right to vote in European Parliamentary elections as well as in local and regional elections wherever they live in the European Union. With European Parliamentary elections due in May 2014, the EU citizens need to register now to vote in their country of residence.
Citizens of other EU member states resident in the UK can vote in local government elections, and those resident in Scotland and Wales can vote in Scottish Parliamentary or National Assembly for Wales elections. Those in Scotland can also vote in the 2014 referendum on Scottish independence. The electoral register is the list of everyone in the UK who is registered to vote. You must be on the electoral register to vote in elections and referendums in the UK. You are not automatically registered.
More information on how to register can be found here: http://neweuropeans.net/registering-vote-elections
You can register on the Electoral Commission’s website: www.aboutmyvote.co.uk . You will need to type in the postcode of the UK address where you are currently resident. Print off the form, complete the required details and sign. Then post the form to your local Electoral Registration Officer whose details are indicated at the bottom of the form. You will only need to supply your full name, your nationality, and your current address. You can choose to vote by post.