EU nationals in Stirling have spoken out after they found that they were not allowed to vote in Thursday’s European Union elections.
Many of these people went to their local polling station under the impression that they would be able to vote, but were turned away after what has been described as “confusion” over election paperwork.
Charlotta Lundahl, an International Politics student from Sweden said that when she went to the polling station, she was told that her registration had been lost and that she wouldn’t be able to vote, despite submitting all of the necessary paperwork on time. It was also too late for her to vote in Sweden as the postal vote closed on May 18.
“I got quite upset as I felt that my right to vote was being taken away from me without any legitimate reason.”
Lundahl criticised the error that happened all over the country yesterday:
“Sure, papers get lost and people make mistakes, but when it comes to something as important as an election it should never happen. Ever.”
Emeline Mimie Morin, a lecturer at the University of Stirling and a French National who has lived in the UK for 10 years spoke to CNN about being turned away from a polling station.
She said that her being turned away was “disenfranchisement.”
Morin asked the polling station staff about the error and was told that they didn’t have the correct paperwork for her to vote.
“The woman on the phone did see me as registered and put me on hold for a while. After a few minutes she explained that there was a form I should have filled in as a EU citizen but hadn’t, and there was nothing they could do.
“I asked where this form was so that I could fill it and this would not happen again. She did not answer but dismissed my question, staring that there was no point, the form was only for European elections and it was unlikely we would need it again with Brexit.”
On the day of the European elections, reports came in from all over the UK of EU nationals being turned away, with many taking to social media using the #DeniedMyVote.
Many have said that the Electoral Commission did not carry out a promise to send the necessary paperwork to EU nationals living in the UK, but after the 2016 Referendum thought that the 2019 elections would not take place in the UK, so only kept the necessary documents on their website.
The Government and the Electoral Commission have been criticised for their handling of the situation. Saying that more awareness about the documents members of the public needed to submit in order to vote should have been made.
It is unknown how many EU nationals were turned away from polling stations on Thursday.
Featured Image: North West Place