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'I felt like a second-class citizen': Woman denied EU election vote

PUBLISHED: 17:19 24 May 2019 | UPDATED: 09:16 29 May 2019

Else Kvist outside the polling station after she was not allowed to vote in the EU election. Picture: Else Kvist

Else Kvist outside the polling station after she was not allowed to vote in the EU election. Picture: Else Kvist

Else Kvist

A Forest Gate woman has told how she was turned away from voting in the EU election - despite having lived in Newham for nearly three decades.

The letter Else Kvist was sent. Picture: Else KvistThe letter Else Kvist was sent. Picture: Else Kvist

Else Kvist, who is originally from Denmark, was turned away from her polling station at Forest Gate Youth and Community Centre when she visited at around 8pm on Thursday.

Despite having a letter confirming she was registered to vote, the 47-year-old was told she could not have her say.

She said: "It feels a bit like a slap in the face really.

"I was a bit tearful when I came out and when I closed my door and I got home I did cry because it is like your right's been taken away from you.

"It made me feel like a second-class citizen to be honest."

Else, who moved to the borough 27 years ago, had visited the polling station with her husband and nine-year-old daughter, who she said became a little embarrassed about the slightly raised voices in the community centre.

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Once the officer at the station told her she couldn't vote, he called an electoral registrar who said there was nothing they could do.

Else said: "I've paid my taxes, my national insurance, been at the same address all these years- it shouldn't be difficult to find me."

In 2014 an EU law was introduced which required EU citizens to declare they would be voting in the UK and not their home country in a separate process.

Else said if these forms had been sent out she had not received one.

She said: "Why weren't people better informed?"

An Electoral Commission spokesman said: "The very short notice from the government of the UK's participation in these elections impacted on the time available for awareness of this process amongst citizens, and for citizens to complete the process."

Else is among dozens of EU citizens living in the UK who have claimed they were turned away from polling stations and unable to vote.

The hashtag #deniedmyvote was trending on Twitter hours after voting opened at 7am.

Administrative errors, incorrect forms being sent to voters and late registration were blamed.

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