EU and UK expat voters calling for investigation into EU MP voting irregularities

Published:  28 Jun at 6 PM
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EU expats in the UK as well as British expats overseas are still furious over the mismanagement of the EU parliament election.

It’s now claimed that over 1.5 million EU citizens living and working in the UK as well as tens of thousands of Brits living in EU member states were unable to vote in last month’s EU parliamentary election due to mismanagement of the entire procedure. As a result, 37 MEPs are now calling for a full, formal investigation by the EU’s Venice Commission into what went so very wrong.
The mess may have been anticipated, as registration system reforms had been promised by both the UK’s Cabinet Office and the UK Electoral Commission but were not put in place.

To a background of vociferous complaints by disenfranchised voters across the board as well as several expat groups, a petition aimed at sparking a public enquiry has already garnered 123,000 signatures a week after it was posted. Claude Moraes, a newly re-elected MEP, is also calling for a UK enquiry. In the case of EU citizens living and working in the UK, they’re entitled to vote either in their home country or the UK after filling in a form stating their preference and registering online for the electoral register.

The New Europeans campaign group has now contacted all the UK’s Electoral Registration Officers asking for a total of supplementary forms sent out as against the numbers returned in time for the vote. Replies to date indicated between nine and 35 per cent of the total of EU expats in the UK returned the forms, an odd number as the average return rate is normally around 23 per cent. New Europeans’ Roger Casale told the media the figures show almost two million EU expats were denied the vote, adding the group warned UK lawmakers that issues uncovered in 2014 needed to be fixed as they would reoccur. The government, he said, ignored the advice.

Casale is also calling for a government enquiry centering on why and how this happened and ensuring it doesn’t happen ever again. British expats in EU member states are also furious, as many were yet again prevented from voting as they were in the 2016 Brexit referendum. Before the EU parliamentary elections, forms requested by UK expats across Europe were sent out too late or delivery was delayed, giving no time for expat recipients to return their votes within the stated time frame. Added to this, the 15-year disenfranchisement rule banned many expatriates from having their say both in the recent EU parliamentary elections and, more importantly, in the Brexit referendum itself. The British concept of democracy and ‘one man, one vote’ seems to have evaporated, along with the value of the pound sterling.
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