IslingtonTribune

The independent London newspaper

Don’t EU want us to vote too?

Europeans living in Islington issue plea over poll confusion

26 April, 2019 — By Emily Finch

Pro-EU campaigner Luisa Fulci with Nick Turton, chairman of Islington In Europe

EUROPEANS living in Islington say the Town Hall should offer residents more guidance on their options ahead of the European Parliament elections next month.

People from EU countries must register with the local authority and fill in an extra form by May 7 to vote in the upcoming elections. But Luisa Fulci, a commercial director at Royal Mail and a campaigner with pro-EU group Islington in Europe, said she had received “no information” on her options from Islington Council.

She said: “Local councils can do much more to try to inform people on the elections. I think there should be leaflets in households encouraging people to register to vote.”

European residents should be sent a European Parliament voter registration form from their local council to vote in the UK.

The UK is unexpectedly participating in the European elections after EU leaders extended the its departure from the EU earlier this month to October 31.

Ms Fulci, from Angel, said she was “torn” over whether to register to vote in the UK or in her native Italy.

She said: “The main reason for being torn is I have resided in the UK for a long time and I feel passionate about Brexit. It’s important to make a stand against Brexit and for the Brexit party to not get a high percentage of votes, especially as we weren’t able to vote in the referendum – these elections become the only place where we can have a say.”

She added: “On the other hand, if we strike a deal and leave the EU in June, it kind of becomes a wasted vote. In Italy, France, and Greece there are some very, very strong right-wing extreme groups I want to vote against, too. It doesn’t help that we haven’t received any information from the council.”

Maggie Kufeldt, Local Returning Officer for Islington, said: “We have sent out European Parliament voter registration forms to every one of the 17,500 EU citizens who live in Islington and are registered to vote. This asks them to respond if they want to vote in the European Parliament election in the UK – they also have the choice of voting in their home country.

“We must receive their completed application by midnight on 7 May and we’ve already received a number of completed forms. Any new EU registered voters are automatically being sent the European Parliament voter registration form to complete once they are registered and this will continue until 7 May.

“I’d ask people to please return the form they have been sent. If you need a new form, one is available on the council website, on the gov.uk website or by contacting our electoral services department.

“Poll cards will start being sent out from next week.”

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