Chani Klapka, one of the 3.1 million EU citizens resident in the UK and eligible to vote in the Euro Elections today, describes her Kafkaesque experience.
I am a German citizen, and a UK resident since 2014. I have lived in Luton for 4 years.
Like thousands, I have been denied a ballot at the polling station today on the grounds that I have not filled in a certain form that states my intent to vote in the EU elections in the UK.
To add insult to injury, the far right has been quick in it’s gleeful mockery. How dare we as foreign nationals not be versed in every detail of electoral law!
Others have been told their forms have not been processed, despite them provably having been filed well before the required deadline.
This form is required to receive a ballot at a polling station, but the council is NOT required to provide it nor make residents aware of it. This, we have only been told after calling the local electoral office at Luton Borough Council. At that point, we were only given an email address to complain.
At no point, since well before the election, have I been made aware of the requirement for this form. The EU Parliament website states that this form should be provided by the local council.
The national scope of this apparent negligence reeks of voter suppression.
There has been a short social media campaign about this but how is this excusable? Twitter hashtags are in no way a sufficient means of informing eligible EU voters of additional electoral requirements. The claim of this being sufficient in informing one hundred percent of the constituency is laughable. And even though being active on social media and the target demographic, none of this has reached neither me or my husband.
Furthermore, the registration process for the electoral roll requires you to state your nationality. After providing this information the now infamous claim “You don’t need anything else to vote!” has become somewhat of a cruel taunt.
The national scope of this apparent negligence reeks of voter suppression. As EU citizens and UK residents, we are invested in the future of this country and its economy. Repeatedly, however, our lives, the future of our families and livelihoods have become a mere pawn in a power shuffle of appeasement that seeks to destabilise and divide.
To add insult to injury, the Far Right has been quick in it’s gleeful mockery. How dare we as foreign nationals not be versed in every detail of electoral law!
I am shocked and angry beyond reason that, yet again, we are denied a say in our future, and furthermore afraid that this will open the door further to Far Right voices scrambling for power.
EDITORIAL NOTE: the Electoral Commission has responded to multiple complaints of eligible voters not being included on the electoral register with the following comment: