The elections to the European Parliament had major shortcomings in the UK and were not worthy of a modern democracy, concludes the British Electoral Commission.
"I felt like a second-class citizen," says the Dane, who is standing up and protesting that she was prevented from voting.
For 27 years Else Kvist has lived in London. She’s married to Rob, who is British, and they have a nine-year-old daughter, Matilde.
She’s angry and she is screaming so loudly she hopes neither the British people nor the UK government will be able to avoid hearing her voice.
“I am one of the 1.7 million EU citizens who were not allowed to vote. It is simply out of order. We have a government where there are many dark forces at play,” says the 47-year-old Dane.
“The prime minister suspended parliament, although he was not allowed to do so, and there are the campaigns where you do not know where the money came from. It seems a little shady.
Then there is the voting scandal. I would like to focus on that.
We also have something to say. We are also part of the community.”
The criticism has been levelled at the Conservative UK government since the European elections this spring. EU citizens with residence permits in the UK and Britons in other EU countries are outraged that they were not given the opportunity to vote in the EU elections.
British pro-Europeans and organisations like New Europeans point out that the Brexit Party won an overwhelming election victory in May.
This happened on the basis of a very low turnout. According to the critics, many supposedly positive EU votes could have made a difference.
“You can certainly say that. There were many EU citizens who could not vote.
It's ridiculous how many there are. Just imagine what they could have done about the result, ” says Else Kvist.
On Saturday, she is speaking for New Europeans "on a soap box with a megaphone" at an event in London, where Bianca Jagger, among others, is also on the speaker list.
Else Kvist will tell the story of how she was deprived of her right to vote.
"I don't usually put myself out there much, but I have to stand up now and fight for our rights,"
says Else Kvist, who works as a freelance journalist and researcher.
At various events in three central locations in London, New Europeans will join other organisations in pointing out that an estimated 3.7 million EU citizens since the June 2016 EU referendum have lived in limbo uncertain about their rights when Brexit is implemented.
The election to the European Parliament is highlighted as a clear example of the British government ignoring the interests of EU citizens.
A new report from the UK Electoral Commission, shows there were around 1.7 million EU citizens who were previously registered to vote but who had not gone through the special registration process for EU citizens.
Some were stuck in a special registration process for EU citizens set up at short notice. In some local electoral districts, the promised registration information was never sent out.
Other voters, like Else Kvist, contacted the local authorities and were told that everything was in order. When they went to the polling booth on Election Day, they were told that they were not eligible to vote.
“I got really angry. We were not given the vote in the EU referendum, as only British citizens could vote. But in this case it was our right to vote that was taken from us, ”says Else Kvist.
Britons residing in other EU countries have said they received their ballot papers so late that they could not return their postal votes in time.
The Electoral Commission emphasises that there is no data to show how many would have actually voted in the election.
But in the new report, sharp criticism is directed at the British authorities' lack of preparation for the election:
"In the end, it meant that some people with the right to vote and who wanted to vote in the European Parliament elections in the UK were unable to do so.
It is unacceptable in a modern democracy. Many of them were, with good reason, frustrated, disappointed and angry that they were unable to vote. "
Some have pointed out that the government did not spent a lot on electoral preparations because the British should have left the EU by the first Brexit deadline.
Else Kvist does not buy that excuse
"We came to the UK when they were members of the EU. The country remains part of the EU and it was our right to vote. "
But was it not really a rather indifferent choice when the elected British should leave the European Parliament after Brexit?
“Many people may not understand why it was so important. It was a slap in the face.
For me it was the last straw. I have lived here for many years. I paid taxes.
I gave birth to my daughter in a British hospital and now she goes to a British school.
And when I couldn't vote, I felt downgraded to a second-class citizen.”
About the author
Uffe Taudel is a senior correspondent with the Danish paper Berlingkse
This article is published with kind permission.
To read the original article (In Danish) from Berlingskse from 11 October, click here
About New Europeans
New Europeans is an award-winning pro-European civil rights organisation based in London and Brussels which campaigns for a Europe of the citizens,