Over one million EU citizens and Britons abroad systematically excluded from voting in the EU elections 2019
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
It appears that between one and two million EU citizens may have been exlcluded 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.
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