Polling cards issued to non British nationals compromise referendum integrity

Published:  2 Jun at 6 PM
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The integrity of the Brexit referendum is at risk due to non-British citizen UK-based EU nationals receiving voting cards.

After reports that non-British citizens living and working in the UK are being sent voting cards for the Brexit referendum, urgent enquiries are being called for.The news broke after a Polish national living in Surrey made it known via social media that he had been wrongly registered by his local authority as a British citizen.

Subsequently, a journalist confirmed he was aware that other Polish nationals as well as Germans had received polling cards in the mail, and another post revealed a Swedish friend with a German passport was also on the local electoral roll.

The thread was later confirmed as accurate by UKpolitics Po Polski in a reply stating multiple reports of Polish nationals being sent polling cards for British general elections. Hounslow’s Vote Leave group agreed, saying they had received a number of similar reports from the Polish community. None of the Poles involved had dual nationality.

It seems that local councils have been registering foreign nationals living in the UK as British citizens entitled to full voting rights rather than confining their rights to voting in London’s mayoral elections. Even although the Electoral Commission has assured the media the issue will be corrected, confidence in the Brexit referendum’s integrity has been shaken.

Politicians on both sides of the Brexit fence are calling for an urgent public enquiry to establish the number of those given the vote in error as well as the reasons why this happened. At the same time, the Electoral Commission is attempting to calm things down by insisting the stringent checks at polling booths will ensure only those entitled will be able to vote. Regular UK voters, however, are stating online that ‘stringent checks’ simply involve ticking off names on a list after voting cards are presented.

The irony of a situation in which EU citizens with no ties to the UK are being sent voting cards whilst hundreds of thousands of UK expats living in the EU are still disenfranchised by the 15-year rule won’t have escaped a good number of exasperated Brit expats overseas. At a time when newly-released immigration statistics are causing a significant increase in those planning to vote Leave, many expats could be forgiving for thinking the referendum is nothing but a politically-generated farce
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