Concerns raised with Government over EU Citizen voter registration

25 April 2019

Catherine West has asked an urgent question on "unnecessary extra paperwork" which she thinks could prevent EU nationals from voting in the 2019 European Elections.

At the 2014 European Elections, EU nationals were required to go through a two-stage process to register to vote, a system which critics say may have prevented many from voting. UK nationals have a much simpler registration procedure.

Following this criticism, the Electoral Commission said they would review the system. Their report on the administration of the 22 May 2014 elections stated:

"It is unacceptable that administrative barriers prevented eligible and engaged electors from participating in these elections, and we will work with others to identify what can be done to simplify the system so that this problem does not affect electors at the next European Parliament elections in 2019."

Should the UK not exit the EU by the end of May, it will have to participate in the 2019 Elections. The same system of registration remains in place for EU nationals living in the UK. 

Responding for the Government to the urgent question, Brandon Lewis MP said:

"To vote in the UK, citizens of other EU member states need to be registered to vote, and to complete the declaration form stating their wish to vote in the UK by Tuesday 7 May 2019. This form is accessible on the Electoral Commission's and Local Authority websites, and it's to ensure that EU citizens do not vote twice, here and in their member state of origin."

Following the statement, Catherine West MP responded, saying:

"In July 2018 the integrity of our democracy was questioned, when Vote leave were found guilty of breaking electoral law. Today, our democracy faces another threat: Government-sanctioned barriers that could suppress EU citizens' from registering to vote."

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