Sat, May 25, 2019 - Page 6 News List

UK admits some EU citizens turned away at elections

AFP, LONDON

The UK election authorities on Thursday acknowledged that some EU citizens were turned away at UK polling stations while trying to cast ballots in the European Parliament elections.

The hashtag #DeniedMyVote began trending in the UK as voters cast their ballots in one of the 28 nations taking part in four days of voting.

“Early morning visit to cast my vote only to have it disenfranchised because my declaration that I wouldn’t be voting in Sweden [my country of citizenship] hadn’t been processed in time,” Lina Dencik tweeted.

Lobby group, The3Million, representing the interests of EU nationals working and living in the UK said it had been contacted by “hundreds” of people who were turned away.

The Electoral Commission said it was monitoring the situation, but refused to take the blame.

“We understand the frustration of some EU citizens of other EU member states,” it said in a statement.

It attributed the incidents to misunderstandings by some people of European election rules for those living abroad.

“The very short notice from the government for the UK’s participation in these elections impacted on the time available for awareness of this process among citizens,” the election body said.

British Prime Minister Theresa May’s government only acknowledged on May 7 that Britain would have to take part in the European Parliament elections because it had not been able to complete the Brexit process in time.

This limited the time both EU and UK authorities had to explain the different voting rules each nation has for its expatriates.

The pro-EU Liberal Democrats accused May’s government of deliberately trying “to silence the voices of our fellow Europeans.”

“Liberal Democrats will hold the government to account for this bureaucratic shambles,” the party said in a statement.

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