Hundreds of thousands of EU27 citizens face losing their vote in the European elections in the UK.
New Europeans exposed the scale of the vote denied scandal in 2014 when over half a million EU27 citizens were prevented from voting in the European elections of that year.
We are raising the alarm because we fear that EU27 citizens are about to be disenfrahcbised from participation in the European elections in the UK again today and on a similar scale.
Roger Casale, founder and CEO of New Europeans, said:
“Despite assurances by the Electoral Commission that it would simplify the procedure to register to vote in the European elections in the UK, its clear that many EU27 citizens face being turned away at polling stations on 23 May 2019 just as they were in 2014”.
“EU27 citizens have the right to representation in the European Parliament.They look to the European institutions to protect their rights especially at this time given the hostile environment that has been created towards migrants in the UK and the uncertainty and anxieties caused by Brexit .”
"However, eligibility of EU 27 citizens to vote in the European elections fell to 327,833 in 2014 from the previous level of 1,043,629 in 2009 and this year there is a real danger that participation rates will drop further."
The problem arises because EU27 citizens need to complete a paper form to confirm they will only vote in EU elections in the UK (and not in their member state of origin) in addition to registering online as a voter with their local authority.
The 2014 vote denied scandal led to a parliamentary inquiry and a promise by the Electoral Commission to simplify the process of registration for EU27 citizens.
In evidence to the Political and Constitutional Affairs Select Committee of the House of Commons at that time, the Electoral Commission said it would:
"continue to work with the UK Government, Electoral Registration Officers and organisations representing citizens of other EU member states in the UK to identify what can be done to simplify the system and remove unnecessary administrative barriers to participation so that this problem does not affect electors at the next European Parliament elections in 2019"
Despite these assurances, the registration process for EU27 citizens remains complicated and confusing.
EU27 citizens are still required to fill in two forms.
The first is an online form on the govrnement website.
The second is a paper form which has to be downloaded, printed out, signed and returned to the local authority.
Both steps must be completed by 7 May.
Electoral Registration Officers should be writing to EU27 citizens to inform them of the requirement to complete the additional European Parliament voter registration form.
However, we know from past experience that in many areas of the UK this may not be done in time unless Electoral Registration Officers are reminded to do so.
New Europeans is therefore urging supporters to write to their local Electoral Registration Officer to make sure that all EU27 citizens in the area have been contacted.
You can help us by writing a letter to the Electoral Registration Officer in your area using the draft letter below.
Dr. Ruvi Ziegler, Chair of New Europeans UK explains further:
"The European Parliamentary Elections are a golden opportunity for citizens of other EU countries who were denied a vote in the June 2016 referendum to exercise their democratic right as EU citizens and vote for MEPs in UK regions.
To prevent the democratic outrage of 2014 repeating itself, we call all Electoral Registration Officers who have not yet done so to write ASAP to EU27 citizens.
They should remind them of the double requirement to register to vote and to fill the European Parliament voter registration form"
“It is not too late to facilitate full and effective participation of EU27 citizens in European elections in the UK.
We call on MPs, political parties, MEP candidates, councils, and all civil society actors to work together to achieve this.”
How to register to vote in EP elections in the UK
1) REGISTER ONLINE
You can do this via the Government website:
2) RETURN PAPER FORM - EU 27 citizens only
EU27 citizens also need to complete the EU citizens European Parliament voter registration form.
You can downloard the form from The Electoral Commission website:
You may also receive a copy of the form from your local authority through the post