The Electoral Commission

The independent body which oversees elections and regulates political finance in the UK

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Electoral Commission statement regarding some EU citizens being unable to vote in the European Parliamentary Elections

Published: 23 May 2019

Electoral Commission spokesperson said: 

"We understand the frustration of some citizens of other EU Member States, resident in the UK, who have been finding they are unable to vote today when they wish to do so.

"All eligible EU citizens have the right to vote in the EU elections in their home Member State. If an EU citizen instead chooses to vote in the EU election in the UK, there is a process for them to complete to essentially transfer their right to vote, from their home Member State to the UK. This is a requirement of EU law, which specifies that this has to be done “sufficiently in advance of polling day”. UK law sets this as 12 working days in advance of the poll.

"This legal process could be made easier for citizens, and the Commission made the case for doing so following the last EU elections in 2014. However, improvements to the process are reliant on changes to electoral law, which can only be taken forward by Government and Parliament.

"The very short notice from the government of the UK’s participation in these elections impacted on the time available for awareness of this process amongst citizens, and for citizens to complete the process. EU citizens’ right to vote in the election in their home Member State remains unaffected by the change in the UK’s participation; in order to do so, they would need to be registered in that country in accordance with that country’s process and timetable."

Journalist