A Big Issue vendor from Germany has been left fuming after missing out on the chance to vote in the European elections because it was too late to register his vote when he received his form
Long-time seller Horst Liedtke, 56, has lived in the Birmingham area for 20 years and received a letter from the city’s council on Saturday May 4, dated the previous day, advising him that he had to register by completing the EC6 form and returning it on Tuesday May 7.
Got this on May 4th. Deadline to hand in form is May 7th. Bank holiday weekend inbetween. No mention of possibility to scan and email back. How many EU27 citizens will be disenfranchised by this, @steve_mccabe @RichardBurdenMP @jessphillips @ShabanaMahmood @PreetKGillMP ? pic.twitter.com/xT0suN8n3V
— Chris Hofmann #FBPE (@cbhofmann) May 6, 2019
But German national Horst, who is registered to vote in local elections, pointed out that he was unable to post the form back due to the early May bank holiday.
“I think this is done on purpose to strip us of our right to vote,” said Horst, who sells The Big Issue magazine on Solihull High Street. “How else would you explain it?
“Obviously with the Brexit situation currently, this time it’s important for me to vote to show the politicians what I think of them, therefore, the European elections were the only way that I could do it and by all means I wanted to vote in this election.”
The Big Issue is a multi award-winning magazine, edited by the British Society of Magazine Editors (BSME) current Editor of the Year.
Horst will now be unable to head to the polls on May 23 but Birmingham City Council has denied his claim that the short notice was deliberate and pointed out that the timeliness with these elections was “obviously pertinent”.
But it appears that Horst is not the only EU national in the same position.
I’ve raised with Brum elections office the importance of enabling people to register to vote in the European elections. Completed forms can be e-mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org to be received by the deadline this Tuesday 7th May. Registration forms here https://t.co/c440ihvSTv
— Richard Burden MP (@RichardBurdenMP) May 6, 2019
Cabinet Office Minister David Lidington only confirmed that the UK would take part in the EU elections on the May 7 deadline as Brexit talks between Conservatives and Labour continued to stagnate.
A petition had already been launched asking to extend the deadline for EU nationals to register to vote up until polling stations open on May 23. So far, the petition has amassed more than 1,000 signatures in a week.