VoteDenied welcomes the Electoral Commission’s criticism of the EU elections process
– Irregularities, confusion and procedural flaws denied many UK residents their vote –
London, 22 July 2014 – VoteDenied, the group of UK residents concerned about the issues surrounding the 22 May elections for the European Parliament, welcomes yesterday’s critical statutory report by the Electoral Commission.
Since 1993, EU citizens have the right vote in the country where they live, rather than the country of their nationality. For many people it makes more sense to elect an MEP representing the country where they actually live, study or work rather than the country they were born.
However, on Election Day in May many UK residents were denied the vote in the elections for the European Parliament and were not able to elect who should become their representative at the European Union. 1)
- In many cases local authorities have unlawfully removed registered voters from the EU electoral roll. Removal without consent is in breach of article 9, paragraph 4 of the framework that provides the legal basis for EU parliamentary elections. 2)
- In some cases local authorities have lost the returned registration forms.
- In some cases polling station staff were insufficiently aware of election procedures and have denied people the vote because they “had to go and vote in their own country”.
- In some local authorities voters were not informed of an additional form they wanted voters to fill in. Many voters expected that being on the electoral roll or having voted in the previous European Parliamentary elections would register them to vote in this year’s EP elections.
- In some local authorities voters were informed of this additional form the council wanted to fill in but returning the form had been made difficult.
Paulo Costa of VoteDenied commented: “Our ongoing study on election data enables us to estimate that the two-step registration system imposed on European nationals in the UK resulted in over one million UK residents being cut from the electoral rolls for the European Parliamentary elections. Our estimate is that almost 10% of those who did try to vote were effectively denied that right. These systemic irregularities tarnish the democratic mandate of British MEPs.“
VoteDenied shares some of the recommendations from the Electoral Commission to prevent these issues in the future. At a minimum we feel the following changes should be made to prevent these issues at the next elections:
- Registration on the electoral roll should be simplified and harmonised by removing the current two-step process compulsory for some UK residents.
- No person should be removed from the electoral register unless they request to be removed or their circumstances change considerably, e.g. because they moved abroad.
- A poll card should explicitly state in which elections a voter is eligible to vote in and which ones they are not allowed to vote in. No surprises at the polling station.
- Adequate training should be mandatory for all staff involved in elections regarding the right for EU citizens to vote in the UK. Senior staff should be extended discretion to allow voting somehow if they can reasonably deduce that the system has failed a voter.
VoteDenied are a group of UK residents with a broad range of nationalities and with a broad range of backgrounds who where denied –or almost denied– the vote in the 2014 elections for the European Parliament.
VoteDenied are concerned that a considerable group of UK residents were not able to vote in the May 2014 EU Elections where they, morally and legally, having employed due diligence, should have been able to vote in.
We have made it our mission to investigate and uncover where it went wrong, recommend improvements to electoral procedures and take action where necessary to bring about the necessary changes and to make sure these issues never occur again.