24 May 2019 – today’s (other) press release

Swinson demands Electoral Commission investigate EU election debacle

Deputy Leader of the Liberal Democrats Jo Swinson has written to the Electoral Commission demanding an investigation after countless EU citizens were unable to vote in the Euro elections this week.

In a letter to Sir John Holmes, Chair of the Electoral Commission, the Liberal Democrat MP said “it is an outrage that so many people were denied the right to vote in yesterday’s European elections.”

She added: “Not only were European citizens turned away at polling stations, but many UK citizens abroad were also disenfranchised due to breakdowns in the postal ballot system.”

The Liberal Democrats have also confirmed that on polling day significant numbers of people called and emailed Liberal Democrat HQ saying they had been unable to vote despite having registered in time.

In demanding an urgent investigation by the Electoral Commission, Jo Swinson said: “There must be an immediate inquiry to understand what went wrong and a review of the current process to ensure it never happens again. In the UK, in 2019, no one should be denied their right to vote.”

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  • The Electoral Commission and local returning officers had two months to prepare for these elections – on March 21st, the default legal position became that UK would remain in the EU until October 31st.

    The legal obligations of EU Member States for electoral registration of citizens of other EU Member States is defined in Council Directive 93/109/EC. It is clear that for the election on 23rd May, these obligations were not fulfilled:

    Article 9
    1. Member States shall take the necessary measures to enable a Community voter who has expressed the wish for such to be entered on the electoral roll sufficiently in advance of polling day.

    Article 12
    The Member State of residence shall inform Community voters and Community nationals entitled to stand as candidates in good time and in an appropriate manner of the conditions and detailed arrangements for the exercise of the right to vote and to stand as a candidate in elections in that State.

  • Mick Taylor 25th May '19 - 8:52am

    Should the counting be put on hold until EU citizens registered to vote get the opportunity to do so?

  • Richard Underhill 25th May '19 - 9:16am

    They should be allowed to vote, despite the delay, nothing less will do.
    A count of the number of people denied their right to vote does not provide a count of HOW they voted.
    The failing councils should be named and fined.
    Remember the 2010 general election, people were queuing up to vote in Sheffield Hallam.
    The damage then was only to Nick Clegg’s majority, notices were posted at polling stations about a change in the rules and were generally seen as fair for future elections.

  • This has “lessons will be learned” written all over it, which means nothing will change and no one will be held to account. Truely we are turning into a Banana Monarchy; still as long as the bananas are bent the reactionaries will be happy.

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