16 January 2021
In an article for Democratic Audit UK written one week after the European elections in 2019, Professor Toby James used the term "wilful neglect" to describe the government's shocking failure to prepare for those elections in a way that guaranteed that all who were entitled to vote were able to do so.
He pointed to four causes which led to voter suppression on a scale as yet unprecedented scale in the UK with over 1.7 million people were denied a vote:
- Failure by the Government to address under-registration in the UK
- Failure by the Government to reform registration process
- Failure by the Government to confirm election in time for people to return forms
- Failure by the Government to all for online check of registration status
These failures parallel some of the the manifold underlying causes that New Europeans pointed to at the time and has been explaining ever since that led to a degree of voter suppression which Toby James compared with "Jim Crow" elections laws in nineteenth century America:
"de facto practices that made it much more difficult for some people to vote compared to others, therefore reinforcing segregation."
These practices included "only adding names to the electoral register during harvest time when agricultural labourers were nowhere near registration offices... or requiring naturalisation papers to be presented when voting." (Toby James).
Read Toby James' article here
We will soon know whether the law suit brought against the UK Government for these failures. The case will be heard on 26 and 27 January and we will keep you posted about the outcome.
In the meantime, we will continue to campaign for a public inquiry into #DeniedMyVote and to maintain the pressure to secure the current voting rights of EU citizens in the UK and if possible to extend them further.
Your support is as vital to the success of our campaign as it was when we started.
As we wait for the court hearing, why not join New Europeans as a member (if you have not yet done so) and nail your colours to the mast of an organisation that is fighting for the rights of citizens and for justice for those denied a vote.
Join New Europeans today
Please also continue to share the petition and to draw attention to this stain on the UK's democratic history so that we can continue to seek redress for those affected and to push for changes in the law to make sure this can never happen again:
We have now reached 155,188 signatures on our petition - any further support support you can give to this crowd funder will help us to do more.
Thank you once again for all your amazing support.
Executive director, New Europeans
10 January 2021
Nigel Farage describes himself as "shy and non-controversial" compared to Donald Trump, who he calls "the single most resilient and bravest person I have ever met in my life".
As we have now seen on both sides of the Atlantic, there are no lengths to which populist, right-wing extremists are not prepared to go, in order to try to secure what they want for themselves and their supporters.
That's why we urge you to join New Europeans today and support an organisation that is working for democracy, human rights, and the rule of law in Britain and in Europe.
The #DeniedMyVote scandal of 2019 should be seen in the context of ever more brazen attacks on the integrity of the democratic process.
We are more than familiar with such developments now on both sides of the Atlantic, not least in the scenes we saw in Washington last week.
However, let's also remember that in 2017, Nigel Farage said this:
"If they don't deliver this Brexit, then I will be forced to don khaki, pick up a rifle and head for the front lines."
Nigel Farage cannot bring down British democracy with a rifle anymore than the Qanon Shaman can stop Biden's confirmation with a pitchfork.
But there are many other ways to undermine democracy.
In 2019, his Brexit Party "won" the European elections in the UK - but 1.7 million EU citizens and Britons abroad were denied their vote.
This happened, because the Government - at a time when it was under huge pressure at the ballot box from the Brexit Party and also from Brexiters within in its own ranks - failed to make timely provision to ensure all who had the right to vote were able to do so.
We need to understand how and why that happened.
Later in the same year, the Government's decision to shut down parliament had to be over-turned in the Supreme Court.
There is a pattern here, an attitude, a mindset, a behaviour, which is profoundly undemocratic and dangerous. It begins with the suppression of votes. It can end with desperate and violent attempts to shut down democracy as we saw in Washington last week.
Our campaign is focussed on the call for a public inquiry into the #DeniedMyVote scandal of 2019.
We must protect the integrity of the democratic process. No stone should be left unturned.
Later this month, the government will also be challenged in court over #DeniedMyVote. We will keep you posted of the outcome.
In the meantime, please continue to share this petition and support this campaign.
Thank you - we are counting on your support.
Roger Casale, New Europeans
Farewell to Freedom of Movement but not (yet) to EU citizens right to vote
The last day of the year was a sad a day for those who value freedom of movement and the rights of mobile EU citizens.
As we prepare for the challenges of the New Year, we look forward to the outcome of a number of court cases including the legal challenge about #DeniedMyVote to be heard later this month.
Although EU citizens in the UK have lost many rights, as have Britons in Europe, the right of EU citizens to stand and vote in local elections has not yet been taken away.
That's why it is vital that we keep campaigning for a full public inquiry into #DeniedMyVote and for a guarantee of current voting rights.
Your help is vital if we are to succeed. We are campaigning both in the UK and the EU and with the support of nearly 155,000 signatories to this petition our voice is being heard. Help us to continue the fight:
The op-ed below was published in this week's The New European and I hope you will find it of interest and also see it rightly as proof of the extent to which our campaigns are continuing to cut through.
We have said farewell to Freedom of Movement, but we don't want to say farewell to the voting rights of EU citizens, too.
Thanks for all your support in 2020. All the best in 2021 and please always remember that we are stronger, much stronger, together.
on behalf of the team at New Europeans
20 December 2020
As the UK edges closer to leaving the EU without deal on 31 December, it is important to remember how we got here.
It's also a moment to celebrate and appreciate the rights we still have as EU citizens in the UK and Britons in Europe.
Unless the Government changes the law, EU citizens in the UK will still have the right to take part in local elections and in elections for the London Mayor, London Assembly, Welsh and Northern Ireland Assemblies and Police Commissioners in England and Wales next year.
In Scotland, EU citizens have the right to vote in local elections and for the Scottish parliament and the franchise is now a devolved power so the Westminster government cannot change it.
We continue to campaign for a public inquiry into #DeniedMyVote because we know that EU citizens in the UK and Britons abroad care want to see an end to the erosion of their democratic rights and the quality of democracy in the UK.
On 31 December, we are holding an online vigil to celebrate free movement and to mourn is passing.
With free movement came the rights we acquired as EU citizens to take part in the democratic life our adopted home .
EU citizens still have a voice at the ballot. We must continue to fight to make sure this connection is not lost.
We must also make sure the government delivers on its promise to abolish the 15 year rule which prevents Britons abroad from voting.
Join us on 31 December as we hold dear to the rights we still enjoy even as the UK breaks the ties that bind us to the rest of Europe thanks to freedom of movement.
Despite everything, we still have democratic rights, we still have a voice, and we intend to keep it.
The events we have seen unfolding in the United States have been a stark reminder that voter suppression is a powerful tool in the hands of autocratic leaders who want to cancel democracy.
Thanks to the mobilisation of thousands of civil rights activists, the courageous stand taken by public officials tasked with administering elections and the courts, Donald Trump has not yet been able to overturn the legitimate outcome of the US elections. But that doesn't stop him from continuing to try to do so.
What can we learn from this about elections in Britain and Europe?
Firstly, that we too need to be ever vigilant in upholding the right of each and every person who is eligible to vote to actually be able to do so.
Secondly, that we should not rest until we have held to account those who suppressed the vote of EU citizens and Britons abroad on such a massive scale in the 2019 European Parliamentary elections.
A legal challenge is being mounted on behalf of some of the individuals who were denied a vote. The hearing was due to take place this week but has been postponed until 26 and 27 January.
In the meantime we continue to press for a public inquiry.
Your sustained support is invaluable particularly as we bring this issue back into the public eye in anticipation of the hearing next year.
Everyone can see how dangerous and damaging voter suppression can be from the experience of the 2020 US Presidential election.
It's time to call these practices out in Britain and Europe, starting with holding the government to account for the mass denial of a vote to 1.7m EU citizens and Britons abroad in the European Parliament elections.
It doesn't matter that the UK has left the EU. It was a member at the time and this is about democracy.
To support our campaign with a donation, please click below:
Can you chip in £5, £10, £25 or more to support our campaign?
To join New Europeans as a member, click here
(We apologise for any inconvenience caused to those who tried to donate at the time of our previous appeal and were able to do so).
Executive director, New Europeans
We've all been watching aghast as Donald Trump tries to stop officials in the key battle-ground states from counting the votes now that the election has taken place.
But let's also remember the lengths the Trump administration and some Republican governors went to before the ballot to interfere with the administration of the election and deny people a vote, including:
* Installing a Trump donor, Louis Dejoy as head of the US postal service!
* Limiting drop boxes where voters can deposit their vote to one per county (in some states)
* Requiring postal voters to have their signatures witnessed (in some states)
* Insisting additional envelopes be used to mail ballots (in some states)
* Attempting to change the deadline for the admissibility of postal votes (in some states)
* Restricting the voting rights of former felons (eg in Florida)
Much of this sounds eerily familiar from last year's elections to the European Parliament in the UK when over 1.7m EU citizens and Britons abroad were denied their vote handing Nigel Farage's Brexit Party several extra seats.
* Sending postal votes out too late for them to be able to be returned in time by British voters abroad
* Insisting on an additional form for EU citizens in the UK to complete
* Failing to take steps to inform EU citizens in time of the administrative requirements
* Ignoring warnings about mass disenfranchisement civil rights groups like New Europeans and MPs
At New Europeans we continue to campaign for a full investigation onto what happened in the European elections in the UK in 2019 by means of a public inquiry.
It's also particularly important to step up our campaign at this time as the Government prepares to defend an important legal case brought against them for failing to prepare adequately for the elections (the case will be heard in December).
Whatever the outcome of the private court case, it is vital that we keep up the pressure on the government. Events in America are bringing the issue of voter suppression back under the spotlight.
Thank you for all your support which has allowed us to continue to fight for justice for all those who were denied their vote.
In doing so, we continue to draw attention to the issue of voter suppression (vote denied) wherever this takes place.
Have we seen the back of voter suppression in the UK?
Not if the Government's response to #DeniedMyVote is anything to go by.
The scenes we are witnessing in the United States (and in Belarus) are a stark reminder that there is nothing more important than our vote.
Lose our vote, and we lose our voice. Just when we really need it.
We have raised our fund-raising target to £20,000 to continue the campaign.
If you can chip in a further £5, £10, £25 or more it will help make all the difference.
Thank you very much for all your support - we will keep you up-dated about developments.
CEO& Secretary General, New Europeans
EU citizens living in England will be allowed to vote in the 2021 local elections, the government has confirmed.
The coronavirus pandemic saw the 2020 polls pushed back to May 6 next year.
It means they will take place after the Brexit transition period ends at the end of 2020.
The scale of the #DeniedMyVote scandal has led many more MPs to support the case for giving voting rights to all EU27 citizens.
This week we learned that over 600,000 EU citizens may been denied a vote last June in London alone (see below).
Activists from across Europe have joined forces to launch a campaign aimed at calling the UK to order for potential breaches of the European Convention on Human Rights
Research carried out by New Europeans, indicates less than one in four EU citizens may have been able to exercise their right to vote in the EU elections in the UK
Read more in Euractiv here
Over one million EU citizens and Britons abroad systematically excluded from voting in the EU elections 2019
It appears that between one and two million EU citizens may have been excluded from the poll, because they had not completed the supplementary form UC1 that was required (in addition to entering their names on the electoral register) to be able to vote in EU elections in the UK.
The reasons for this failure were many and varied but the consequences were the same - voter disenfranchisement and on a massive scale.
Some EU citizens never received the form, others received it too late or sent it back but the form was lost by their local Council.
Whatever the reason, no form meant no vote, and no vote meant no voice in one of the most important elections Europe has seen this century.
Many Britons living abroad who had registered to vote in the UK were similarly disenfranchised because they did not receive their postal vote forms in time.
New Europeans has launched a petition calling for a full public inquiry
New Europeans had investigated when a similar scandal occurred at the European Parliamentary elections in 2014, and obtained promises form the Electoral Commission that the system would be reformed.
We raised the alarm in the middle of April 2019 and pointed out that this problem with the UC1 form which had led to mass disenfranchisement at the European elections in 2014 would lead to the same problems again in 2019.
We called on the government to make the UC1 forms available at all polling stations and to send poling cards to all EU citizens, not just those who had completed and returned the UC1 form.
Despite our best efforts, our worst fears were realised.
It is possible that up to 2 million EU citizens and many tens of thousands of Britons living abroad may have been denied a vote.
A public inquiry is necessary to examine why the government failed to act despite warnings from New Europeans and from the MPs that we mobilised to support our calls for government to take remedial action.
The Government must also explain why failed to put timely and adequate measures in place so that EU citizens could take part in the European elections from January 2019 at the latest when it became clear that such election were a distinct possibility.
Democracy is a special gift, and to restrict the franchise in this way, to create barriers to participation and to leave those barriers in place even when it became clear that they could not be overcome in time to allow EU citizen to vote in the European elections is unforgivable.
An inquiry could and should find out what went wrong, hold those responsible to account and draw lessons for the future so this never happens again.
Each and every contribution, no matter how small or big, allows us to run a professional and effective campaign for a public inquiry into #DeniedMyVote.
With your help and contribution, we will be able to spread the word on Twitter and Facebook, reach out to MPs and MEPs, and prepare in-depth and high-quality reports on this topic.
We want to make sure a public inquiry doesn't just stay a demand, but becomes reality.