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#Deniedmyvote – British in Europe and the3million launch crowdfunder to hold the UK government to account after citizens were prevented from voting during the EU Elections.
Citizens’ rights groups the3million and British in Europe have launched a crowdfunder to raise money to hold the UK Government to account after EU and British citizens were prevented from voting during the European Parliamentary elections. The groups are exploring a legal challenge that could also potentially lead to compensation for those who weren’t allowed to vote.
Thousands of EU citizens in the UK went to the polling station on 23 May 2019 and saw their names crossed out because of their nationality. British citizens abroad from Finland to Greece and as far away as New Zealand were similarly upset as their postal ballot papers turned up late or not at all, making it impossible for them to vote.
By the end of that day, the hashtag #DeniedMyVote had been tweeted over 100,000 times, as citizens experienced the largest case of discrimination since the UK decided to leave the EU.
Since Thursday, the3million and British in Europe have been inundated with messages and emails of citizens who through no fault of their own were denied a vote. While the groups won’t know yet how many people have been discriminated against, it is clear that this has happened in every part of the country and across the globe for UK citizens abroad. It shows a systematic failure of the Government, the Electoral Commission and local Councils. the3million had warned them ahead of the elections of the problems EU citizens were facing, but no actions were taken to mitigate the risks.
The two groups are fundraising via Crowdjustice:
Jane Golding, co-chair of British in said:
“Fewer than 40% of UK citizens abroad can actually vote in the UK and administrative problems and cuts to resources have reduced this number even further. Brits abroad #DeniedMyVote is a perennial problem in the UK and needs fixing. We are asking supporters to help us and the3million explore whether we can challenge this legally through the courts.”
Co-founder of the3million Nicolas Hatton said:
“Imagine being turned away at the polling station in elections you always voted in? We should not have been treated like second class citizens and we are calling those who believe in fairness to support us challenge the Government in court over the disenfranchisement, discrimination and disrespect of EU citizens in the UK and British citizens in the EU. Our voting rights matter, they are part of our fundamental status as citizens and part of our legal and constitutional heritage, protected by EU law. The time has come to stand up for them.”
John Halford of Bindmans LLP said:
“The right to vote is the foundation for all citizenship rights. Last Thursday saw a large scale, systematic, openly discriminatory denial of that right. The case we plan to bring will show that this is not something the law will tolerate and that there must be accountability and consequences.”
For more information or to arrange an interview please contact:
British in Europe
M: + 32 (0) 497 409 884
Twitter: @mediawhizz @britishineurope
M: +44 7866 763 463
Twitter: @maikebohn @The3Million