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Expat denied vote in EU elections

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EU citizens are allowed to vote in other European countries during EU elections. Photo: DPA
17:23 CEST+02:00
Almost three million foreigners from other EU countries could have voted in Germany in Sunday's election, but only a handful did. Others had problems voting. One British expat told The Local he was stopped at his polling station, despite being registered.

Citizens from other EU countries living in Germany were given the option to vote in Germany or in their home countries in the European election. 

But according to figures from the Federal Statistics Office, just 172,000 (5.7 percent) of the almost three million foreign EU citizens living in the country were registered on the German electoral roll.

Shaun Trezise from Newbury in Berkshire told The Local he was turned away from his polling station in Bochum, North Rhine-Westphalia, despite being sent a letter from electoral authorities confirming he was registered.

“I went down on Sunday morning with my girlfriend and I was given all of the voting forms. I brought my ID but no one asked for it,” he said.

But when the English teacher came to give in his completed voting slip he was stopped.

There were also local elections and a referendum in Bochum that day. Shaun said he was allowed to vote in them but was stopped when he gave in his EU election slip.

The 30-year-old told The Local: “There was a woman sat there with all the names on the electoral roll on and she said no EU. I asked a man by the ballot box why and he didn’t know so he asked a woman who was not the most friendly. She said, ‘no you can’t do it, that’s it’.

“She didn't say why. I didn't really know what the rules were on voting as a non-German citizen so I didn't argue too much. No one knew why so it's a bit of a mystery really.”

EU citizens have been able to vote in other EU countries during European elections since 1994 and a spokesman for the Electoral Office confirmed to The Local that all foreigners who had registered should have been allowed to vote.

Polling stations in other countries also wrongly denied the vote to EU citizens.

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Britain’s Independent newspaper reported on Friday that polling stations in the UK turned away EU foreigners despite them being on the electoral roll, with one voter being told to go and vote in his own country.

And in east England a German woman's named was crossed off the list at her polling station in Norfolk, preventing her from casting her ballot, the Eastern Daily Press reported on Tuesday.

Did you face similar problems voting on Sunday? Email tom.bristow@thelocal.com.

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