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Legal action planned as ballots fail to turn up

Hundreds of people have reported not receiving postal ballot papers in time for last week’s European elections and a legal challenge is now in the starting blocks.

Around sixty readers in France have now emailed Connexion about the problem and other reports from several European countries have been collected by the British in Europe (BiE) campaign coalition (we are still interested in hearing about this at news@connexionfrance.com and please state also if you would like us to forward your email to BiE).

If emailing about this issue please include the name of your British council and if possible also tell us when you applied for a postal ballot.

BiE and the3million group for EU citizens living abroad in the UK have now raised €40,000 in two days in a crowdfunder named #DeniedMyVote to fund the first steps of a possible human rights law case on behalf of Britons who did not get postal ballots and UK-resident EU citizens who were refused the right to vote.

It is hoped there may be further clarity about legal avenues in a few weeks’ time and there may be a further fundraising if the case proceeds.

The problem for EU citizens in the UK was linked to a requirement to fill in a special form confirming they were not also voting in their countries of origin.

In some cases people were unaware of the need to fill it in, in others they sent it in but it had not been processed in time. Many went to polling stations only to find their names had been crossed off the lists of registered voters.

BiE campaigner Roger Boaden said initially the Electoral Commission said Britons must complain to individual councils if they did not receive ballots, however mounting evidence shows the issue of ballots coming too late to be returned for the elections (or not at all) has been linked to over 50 different councils so far.

“Complaining to the council is fine if it’s a one-off but in this case it’s clear something has gone badly wrong,” he said.

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