We are extremely concerned to hear that that many EU citizens who were registered to vote here in the UK were turned away from polling stations yesterday, unable to cast their vote in the European Elections.
The unnecessary delay in calling the elections by the Tory government meant that all councils had very little time to speak to our residents from the EU and give them the information they needed about the elections and how they could make sure they were able to vote. The inaction of this government for these elections has disenfranchised EU voters all over the country.
Despite the appalling mismanagement of these elections by this dying government, Lambeth council has worked hard to make sure that our 30,000 EU citizens had the information they needed about voting in these elections:
- We wrote to all EU citizens who are registered to vote in Lambeth with a UC1 form and covering letter by post with a 1st class pre-paid return envelope at the earliest opportunity on 18 April; we also sent reminder letters to everyone that received a form in the initial print run.
- We distributed posters and leaflets about the elections in libraries and other public spaces to make sure we are reaching as many EU citizens as possible.
- The Lambeth website homepage stated that the deadline for registering to vote was 7 May 2019 and contained a prominent link to our EU elections web page which included detailed information for EU citizens living in the UK on how to register to vote at this election. This web page also mentioned that applicants should consider emailing us a scanned copy of their completed UC1 form in order to meet the registration deadline.
- The Lambeth Council and Lambeth Democracy twitter pages tweeted about the need for EU citizens to register with the additional forms.
We sincerely regret that, despite the best efforts of Lambeth council, some EU citizens found that they were not able to vote in yesterday’s elections. The Tory government’s negligence of these European Elections has resulted in people having their right to vote taken away from them, and that is a national disgrace.
Lambeth is home to over 30,000 EU citizens, Portuguese is the second most widely spoken language across the borough, and Spanish is the third. 79% of Lambeth residents voted to Remain in 2016 – we are proudly the most remain part of the UK outside of Gibraltar. In our manifesto for the local elections in 2018 we promised to fight for the rights of EU citizens and we backed a People’s Vote last year. We’ve campaigned for it ever since and we’ll keep fighting for the rights of our EU friends and neighbours.