eu nationals are reporting that they’re being turned away from voting stations

Using the hashtag #deniedmyvote, hundreds say they’ve been unable to exercise their democratic right to choose an MEP.

by Roisin Lanigan
23 May 2019, 12:02pm

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Voting is underway in the European elections, and already it’s all kicking off. Nigel Farage was trapped on a bus while a baying mob waited, milkshakes in hand. Theresa May was spotted crying in the back of her car (and don’t you dare feel sorry for her) and this sheep presumably marked his ballot for Ewe KIP down in Dorset. But amid all this buzz and frivolity, there’s something more sinister going on.

EU nationals living in the UK have reported that they’re being turned away from voting booths, despite legally being allowed to participate in the election. Agata Peyna, a human rights and immigration lawyer, revealed in a tweet that despite registering long before deadline and living in the UK for almost 15 years, she was stopped at her polling station this morning.

“Turned away from polling station this morning,” she posted. “Told I should vote in my EU member state. Called local council yesterday, they confirmed I could vote. Called again today. Apparently council had no time to send out forms to all EU residents. Nothing they can do now.”

Agata’s experience has since been retweeted thousands of times — the hashtag #DeniedMyVote is trending on Twitter — with many other EU nationals living in the UK, some for as long as 20 years, reporting underneath that they too, have been denied the right to participate in the election. There appears to be widespread confusion on the issue, with some reporting that they had been allowed to vote.

Most of the confusion stems from the fact that EU nationals in the UK were forced to undergo a so-called ‘two step process’ in order to vote, which entailed filling out a second form along with the traditional registration to vote. Yesterday, Labour MP Catherine West warned that as many as 75% of non-British/Irish EU citizens living in the UK could be turned away from the voting booths.

David Lammy today attacked the two-step process as deliberate bureaucratic red-tape which actively discriminates against immigrants. “The two step process is ugly discrimination,” he wrote on Twitter, noting that it’s the latest attack on EU nationals after years of insult and exploitation.

With hours until the polls close, it’s not yet clear what effect on the election today’s events will have. But Brexit wise, it doesn’t look good.

European elections