Change law to make EU voting easier

John Howarth MEP has called for a change in the law to simplify electoral systems. The change would help EU citizens living in the UK to vote in European elections avoiding the chaos that denied many a say at the polls this year.

In May, many EU citizens were turned away from polling stations unable to vote, while Britons overseas protested that their ballot papers only showed up in the days before or did not show up at all. A legal challenge is bring mounted by citizens around Europe who recently met with Labour MEPs (pictured top).

He told the European Parliament changes are needed at EU level to avoid the confusion which barred those residents outside their home states from voting.

John says:

“This was an important milestone in the development of European democracy. But I am concerned to learn of citizens from other EU member states who are resident in my constituency who were denied the opportunity to exercise their right to vote.

“While the logistics of exercising a vote in more than one member state may theoretically be possible, it is practically ridiculous - so the measures that are currently in place do nothing but make it more difficult for EU citizens living outside their state of citizenship to vote. The extent depends on how the member state implement the rules. The change I'm proposing would matter to EU citizens all over Europe whether or not the UK leaves the European Union. Democratic politicians should be making it easier for people to vote but in too many places, the UK in particular, it seems governments want to make it more difficult.

"A simple form held at polling stations would allow citizens to declare their intention to vote in the member state of residence and not their state of citizenship.

"At present the law requires citizens to make a declaration of intent "in good time" before the polls - in other words fill in an additional form to other citizens. It isn't difficult, but it does get forgotten and is in the way of participation to no real effect. The move would also help UK citizens living across Europe"