Thousands of North Herts' EU citizens face loss of automatic right to vote after Brexit
PUBLISHED: 12:02 27 October 2019
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Thousands of EU citizens in North Hertfordshire could lose their automatic right to vote in elections following Brexit.
The3Million, an organisation which campaigns for EU citizens' rights in the UK, says it means some people could "lose the right to any form of democratic representation".
Currently, EU citizens based in England are entitled to vote in European Parliament and local government elections.
But reciprocal voting rights for EU citizens in the UK, and UK citizens living in the EU, have not been agreed with most member states after Brexit - to date, such agreements have been reached with only Spain, Luxembourg and Portugal.
It means that 2,902 voters in North Hertfordshire - 2.9 per cent of the electorate - could lose their right to vote following the UK's departure from the EU.
The figures exclude those with dual nationality in the UK, Irish citizens, who can vote in all UK elections, and people from Malta and Cyprus, who will maintain their right to vote as they are Commonwealth countries.
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Across the East of England, 205,000 EU citizens - 4.5 per cent of the electorate - could see their right to vote affected by Brexit.
Nationally, 4.7 per cent of England's electorate, 1.9 million people, are from EU countries without an automatic right to vote.
Maike Bohn, spokeswoman for the3million, said: "Some people, because of the way electoral law works in their home countries, will have no right to vote there either. Many will lose the right to vote in European elections.
"There are some people who will lose the right to any form of democratic representation - and that is unacceptable in the 21st century.
"The referendum has already shown what happens when you don't have a voice."
A new report from the Electoral Commission shows that some EU citizens could already have had their votes hampered, after some British expats and citizens of other EU member states living in the UK faced "difficulties" when trying to vote in the European parliamentary elections on May 23.
The commission said the problems were caused by the Government's delay in implementing electoral changes it had first recommended in 2014.
In that election, the largest share of North Hertfordshire's vote, 31.5 per cent, went to the Liberal Democrats.