The hashtag #DeniedMyVote is trending on Twitter today, May 23rd, a mere few hours after polling booths were opened across the United Kingdom. A disturbing picture, and an unwelcome trend, as there are reports of European Union nationals turning up at polling booths, and finding their names crossed out, and being told by officials they are not eligible to vote.
Administrative errors, a lack of correct forms being sent out to voters and late registration, were blamed for the inability of some people to cast their ballots today in the European Elections.
Immigration and human rights barrister Agata Patnya tweeted: “turned away from polling station this morning. Told I should vote in my EU member state. I registered before the deadline. Have been here since 2005. Voted many times before. This is my member state.”
Marcella Finazzi wrote on Twitter: “just went to vote this morning with my orange polling card and I was told I cannot vote because I figure as Italian citizen not British Italian.”
Labour MP for Tottenham David Lammy tweeted: “3 years of being insulted, exploited and asked to apply to stay in their own homes. Now reports flooding in that EU citizens are being turned away at polling stations, despite being registered to vote. The two step process is ugly discrimination #DeniedMyVote”
MEPs who could have benefited from EU citizens votes in this election expressed alarm.
MEP Seb Dance tweeted: I dismay at the posts under #deniedmyvote - we cannot let fellow citizens’ rights be taken away by an incompetent government.
If you’re an EU27 citizen USE YOUR VOTE and if you’re denied it don’t let it rest.”