Category Archives: Letmevote News

Updates from the letmevote campaign

UK Local Elections 2016

On 5 May 2016 EU citizens living in the UK are entitled to vote in local elections for the following bodies

Last day to register to vote: 18 April 2016

As always, our recommendation is to register directly with your local council/authority. Some of you who are registered to vote will already have received a polling card or postal vote. If you think you are registered, check with the Council that you are indeed on the voting register, it is best to make sure before each election, as election registers need to be updated regularly and the system has changed in the last couple of years. Find the contact details for your local election authority here: http://www.aboutmyvote.co.uk/

EU citizens living and working in the UK unfortunately do not have a vote in the 23 June 2016 Leave/Remain EU Referendum, but they do have the democratic right to vote in local elections where they live. As active and involved members of their local communities we hope as many people as possible make sure they are on the electorial register.

Find out what the position of local candidates is on Brexit and set a sign through your vote in your local election on 5 May 2016!

 

Mayoral Elections outside London

In 2012 three UK cities elected a directly elected Mayor for the first time. These roles are up for election again in 2016.

NOTE: in all three cities local councils will also be elected on 5 May 2016, EU citizens can vote in these elections.

Local Elections 2015

On 5 May 2015 over 100 local authorities and councils are also elected.

Technically, these are called Metropolitan Boroughs, District Councils and Unitary Authorities – the important thing is they are your local authorities and EU citizens who are permanent residents and on the electoral register have the right to vote in these elections to shape their communities.

Elections in 2016 are being held for the following local authorities

Metropolitan Boroughs
A third of council seats are up for election in 32 of 36 Metropolitan boroughs including Barnsley, Birmingham, Bolton, Bradford, Bury, Calderdale, Coventry, Dudley, Gateshead, Kirklees,  Knowsley, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, North Tyneside, Oldham, Rochdale, Rotherham, St Helens, Salford, Sandwell, Sefton, Sheffield, Solihull, South Tyneside, Stockport, Sunderland, Tameside, Trafford, Wakefield, Walsall, Wigan, Wirral, Wolverhampton.

Unitary authorities
In three councils – Bristol, Peterborough, Warrington – all seats are up for election while 16 others have a third of seats up for election. You can vote in Blackburn with Darwen, Bristol, Derby, Halton, Hartlepool, Kingston-upon-Hull, Milton Keynes, North East Lincolnshire, Peterborough, Plymouth, Portsmouth, Reading, Slough, Southampton, Southend-on-Sea, Swindon, Thurrock, Warrington, Wokingham.

District Councils
12 district councils have all their seats up for election.
Seven have half of their seats up for grabs.
In a further 52 councils a third of seats are being elected.
District Council Elections are held in Adur, Amber Valley, Basildon, Basingstoke & Deane, Brentwood, Broxbourne, Burnley, Cambridge, Cannock Chase, Carlisle, Castle Point, Cheltenham, Cherwell, Chorley, Colchester, Craven, Crawley, Daventry, Eastleigh, Elmbridge, Epping Forest, Exeter, Fareham, Gloucester, Gosport, Great Yarmouth, Harlow, Harrogate, Hart, Hastings, Havant, Huntingdonshire, Hyndburn, Ipswich, Lincoln, Maidstone, Mole Valley, Newcastle-under-Lyme, North Hertfordshire, Norwich, Nuneaton & Bedworth, Oxford, Pendle, Preston, Redditch, Reigate & Banstead, Rochford, Rossendale, Rugby, Runnymede, Rushmoor, St Albans, South Cambridgeshire, South Lakeland, Stevenage, Stroud, Tamworth, Tandridge, Three Rivers, Tunbridge Wells, Watford,
Welwyn Hatfield, West Lancashire, West Oxfordshire, Weymouth & Portland, Winchester, Woking, Worcester, Worthing, Wyre Forest.

Check your local newspapers, radio and TV to check if you can participate in local elections in May 2016. To start with, Wikipedia also has a reasonably good list of all elections taking place locally in 2016.

 

Electing the Scottish Parliament, Welsh Assembly and Northern Ireland Assembly

EU citizens living in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland can vote in the elections for the Scottish Parliament. Register by contacting the Electoral Registration Officer for your local area, you can find their contact details by using the postcode search on the About my vote website.

Here are direct links to find the direct information about these elections:

 

London Assembly

The Assembly holds the Mayor and Mayoral advisers to account by publicly examining policies and programmes through committee meetings, plenary sessions, site visits and investigations. It consists of 25 members, of which 14 are elected by constituencies, the other 11 represent London overall. There’s a nice little video explaining what the London Assembly is, you can find out more about it and stay on top of ongoing work by checking out the London Assembly website. Again, a good list of 2016 candidates is on Wikipedia.

London Mayor

Since a significant percentage of Londoners are non-British EU citizens living and working in the capital, contributing significantly to the city’s international flair and success, we specifically urge European Londoners to participate in the election for the next London Mayor. You can check out our special resource collection for the election here, and find out more on the official page London Elects.

Last day to register to vote: 18 April 2016

Don’t forget: EU citizens have the right to vote in all elections which are categorized as  local, so all the above listed elections are open for EU citizens to vote in. Make sure you are registed to vote! 

 

 

London Mayor 2016 – EU-Citizens Can Vote

glaNon British EU-citizens living in London (EU citizens) can vote in the upcoming elections for London Mayor and for the London Assembly on 5 May 2016. Registration deadline is 18 April 2016. If you are eligible, do not wait for the deadline, register right now.

EU citizens living in London contribute fully to the economic, social and cultural life where ever they live and work in this city. They rent or own, pay for, use and help run public services (transport, health, education, local government, etc.) and they are in growing numbers members of community organisations, trade-unions and political parties.

Letmevote UK is politically neutral. We do however aim to get as many eligible voters, especially under-registered groups such as EU-citizens, to register (by 18 April 2016) and to vote on 5 May 2016. We believe in democratic participation and in using your vote to help shape the community you live in.

Housing, Transport, Social Cohesion, Air Quality, sustainable growth and many more will be issues EU citizens will be considering when casting their vote in May. A key issue for many EU citizens will be candidates’ position on the up-coming EU referendum (23 June), in which EU citizens unfortunately do not have a vote. A vote for Brexit in June would create mid-term uncertainty of EU citizens’ legal status in the UK and further strengthen negativity towards EU citizens in the public discourse across the UK. It is therefore very likely that EU citizens will feel less inclined to vote for candidates supporting Brexit.

If you are not registered to vote yet find details of your local electoral registration office on the websites of the Electoral Commission http://www.aboutmyvote.co.uk/ with a simple post code search. Make sure you are on the register to avoid the frustration faced by hundreds of EU citizens who were denied a vote in the UK in the 2014 European Elections.

You can find more information on the mayoral candidates herehttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/London_mayoral_election,_2016

Mayoral Candidates (ranked by latest polling) and their party and EU referendum position

Candidate – Party – EU referendum position

  • Sadiq Kahn – Labour – Remain
  • Zac Goldsmith – Conservative – Leave
  • Siân Berry – Green Party – Remain
  • Caroline Pidgeon – Liberal Democrats – Remain
  • Peter Whittle – UKIP – Leave
  • George Galloway – Respect Party – Leave

Even if you think you are registered we still strongly recommend you check with your local electoral registration office. Electoral Registration has moved from registration of the whole household to individual registration. Student accommodations used to register all students in the past. Students now need to register individually.

For all your registration needs visit: http://www.aboutmyvote.co.uk/

HOW YOU CAN HELP

If you know any EU citizens, please encourage them to register and to have their say on the 5th of May.

LONDON ASSEMBLY ELECTION 2016

London also elects London Assembly Members on 5 May 2016.

The Assembly holds the Mayor and Mayoral advisers to account by publicly examining policies and programmes through committee meetings, plenary sessions, site visits and investigations. It consists of 25 members, of which 14 are elected by constituencies, the other 11 represent London overall. There’s a nice little video explaining what the London Assembly is, you can find out more about it and stay on top of ongoing work by checking out the London Assembly website. Again, a good list of 2016 candidates is on Wikipedia.

The UK EU Referendum – 23 June 2016

Remain or LeaveOn 23 June 2016 the United Kingdom will hold a referendum about whether it should remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union. A potential ‘Brexit’ has been discussed for the last couple of years and Eurosceptics have campaigned more and more aggressively against EU citizens living and working in the UK and made them one of the main reasons why the UK should end its membership of the European Union.

Some basics on the EU referendum have been assembled by the BBC, although many media outlets so far have not adequately helped to raise the quality of the debate about this important issue.

Letmevote as a grassroots initiative has argued for years that in our opinion people should have the right to vote in the communities they live in. Especially EU citizens, who should be equal to each other across the EU, should have democratic voting rights wherever they live in the EU, whether in their home nation or another EU country.

Despite 2+m EU citizens living in the UK and 1.5 British EU citizens living elsewhere in the EU, the UK government has failed to show a democratically forward-looking attitude on this. On 23 June non-British EU citizens living and working in the UK will not have the right to vote and participate in the UK EU Referendum. This is especially frustrating since EU citizens in Scotland did have voting rights in the Scottish Independence Referendum 2014 – unfortunately the UK government did not show a similar enlightened attitude as the Scottish government as to the rights of their residents to determine their own fate.

Another democratically frustrating fact is that UK citizens who live abroad for more than 15 years lose their right to vote in any UK elections, leaving many democratically disenfranchised. In another frustrating move, and despite an earlier promise to the contrary from key actors, the UK government has also decided not give these British citizens a vote in the EU referendum – many of which are directly affected by the outcome as they live on the European continent.

Some EU citizen groups have campaigned against the disenfranchisement of EU citizens living in the UK, focusing on two petitions. The ‘Give EU citizens living & working in the UK the right to vote in EU Referendum‘ Petition got just under 40,000 signatures when it closed on 25 March 2016. A 38 degrees petition on the subject has under 4000 signatures as of March 2016.

Letmevote has not actively campaigned for these petitions because it has been clear since 2015 that the UK government held a firm opinion against EU citizens’ participation in any referendum, and would not be swayed. However, we strongly believe that just because EU citizens have no vote in the EU referendum, it does not mean they have no voice.

We strongly encourage EU citizens living in the UK to campaign for the EU referendum in their local communities, schools, workplaces and online. EU citizens have stories to tell, we play an important part in helping other local people, British citizens and other with voting rights (such as Irish and Commonwealth citizens living in the UK) a good understanding what the EU means, how it cooperates and why EU membership adds to the quality of life in the UK.

Some organisations who campaign on the EU referendum, especially if spending campaign capital on their work, may need to register with the Electoral Commission as campaigners. However, nothing keeps individual EU citizens and activists from playing an active role in their community or from supporting pro-EU campaigns who work for a ‘REMAIN’ decision.

Letmevote will continue to share relevant information on twitter (you don’t need to be a twitter user to see our updates here!), and also work with another organisation to highlight campaign materials and information you may find useful if you want to campaign for the UK’s continued membership in the European Union.

Statement about EP2014 problems in UK

Statement by

European Movement UK

Labour Movement for Europe (LME)

European Alternatives

LetmevoteUK

Vote, you’re at home!

Liberal Democrat European Group (LDEG)

 

We are a group of initiatives and organisations who are working with EU citizens in different forms. All of us in some way work on projects of citizen engagement, voter participation and policy development. We try to empower and involve EU citizens, whether of British or other origin in issues around Europe and how Europe relates to local communities in the UK, some of us also in other countries.

 

Following the European Elections 2014 in the UK on 22 May 2014 we are concerned that there have been many reports of EU citizens in the UK not being able to vote in the elections.

 

Many who thought they had registered to vote, were turned away at polling stations being told they were not on the list for EP2014.

 

At the moment we are not clear what the source of the problem was, reports varied. There were more voter registration campaigns than ever targeting EU citizens, some of which we were directly involved in. Voters did need to get on the electoral register, then confirm individually in a 2nd form that they would vote in the European Elections in the UK rather than their home country.

 

It seems that many people who have lived here for years and voted previously, did miss or never receive the form from their Local Council to confirm they wanted to vote in the EP elections. Others report having got so many forms they submitted multiple times. Other received forms so often they did not return them as they thought they had registered already.

 

We assume a combination of factors led to electoral registration being too confusing for too many. This is out of line with our democratic principles. The UK has a good track record of enabling communities from different backgrounds to vote where they have the right to do so, and to not do this adequately for so many EU citizens who live and contribute to the UK society and economy at a time of general prejudice against these citizens seems at best unfortunate, and democratically not acceptable.

 

We are asking for the process to be looked into. Points of investigation are

 

  • if and when Councils explained the process adequately so EU citizens knew which steps to take

  • whether staff in polling stations had adequate information to know in which of the ballots EU citizens could vote, so they could resolve issues aside from just telling people if they were on the list or not

  • where there are reports which indicate prejudice against any EU citizens may have been expressed, specifically at polling stations in the form of unhelpful comments, this is also a point of concern

We call for the simplification of the process and suggest that we either return to the previous system or improve the form (which incorrectly stated that no further action is required) or adopting a different system that will deal adequately with the current problems.

 

2.5m EU citizens live in the UK and make up a significant part of our communities. Access to exercise their voting rights should be straight forward, and we hope our concern is noted, looked into and followed up with appropriate processes of investigation.

 

Petros Fassoulas, Chair European Movement UK www.euromove.org.uk

David Schoibl, Chair, Labour Movement for Europe (LME) www.labourmovement.eu

Noel Hatch, Co-Chair, European Alternatives www.euroalter.com

Susanne Kendler, UK Coordinator, LetmevoteUK www.letmevoteuk.org

Jakub Krupa, UK Coordinator, Vote, you’re at home! www.jusz.eu

George Dunk, Chair, Liberal Democrat Europe Group (LDEG) www.ldeg.org

 

The European Movement UK: The European Movement is a grassroots, cross-party, independent organisation, set up in 1950 and campaigning since then to inform the debate around the benefits of EU membership. In preparation for EP2014 the European Movement offered registration information through its registration campaign website http://vote2014uk.org.uk/

 

Labour Movement for Europe (LME) is a membership and campaigning organisation and Socialist Society affiliated to the Labour Party. Since 2008 it has been running voter registration campaigns among EU citizen communities in the UK and has many EU citizens among its membership and volunteers. The LME works to improve the quality of debate about Europe in the Labour Party and beyond.

 


European Alternatives (EA) is a transnational civil society organisation and citizens movement promoting democracy, equality and culture beyond the nation state. European Alternatives organises a wealth of activities, campaigns, and projects, including public events and the annual TRANSEUROPA Festival, research, activities promoting active citizenship, youth projects, campaigns and publications.

 

Letmevote UK is part of Letmevote EU, an independent citizens’ group promoting active citizenship in the EU. Letmevote promotes voter registration and participation of all EU citizens, including mobile EU citizens, who live and work in other EU countries than the one they come from. LetmevoteUK believes in a Europe of the people, of its citizens, and of active communities.

 

Vote, you’re at home! is a non-partisan joint initiative by School for Leaders, Polish City Club London, Forum Polonia Ireland and more than 30 associated organisations of Polish expats living in the United Kingdom, encouraging Poles living in this country to be active in local communities and political processes.

 

The Liberal Democrat Europe Group (LDEG) is the association for UK Liberal Democrat members and activists who are interested in European politics. As a group, LDEG provides a forum for the discussion of European political issues with a focus on the European Union and Britian’s role in the EU. The group also promotes a greater understanding of European political affairs.

Rock the Eurovote (French)

On 18/04/2014 Europeens Sans Frontieres, our friends from the French Letmevote Team, published a video by the name Rock the Euro Vote. The project is reminiscent of the former US campaign ‘Rockthevote’ which aimed to increase voter participation with the help of a wide range of artists encouraging people to vote. Likewise, Rock the Euro Vote is a French-language  initiative to mobilize artists and intellectuals to fight against voter abstention in the European elections in May 2014, through video testimonials.

. rock the eurovote

Rock the Eurovote Voices rise for Europe – Participating Artists

Guillaume Gallienne

Florence Pernel

Dany Boon

Virginia Efira

Jean-Christophe Victor

Muriel Mayette

Fefe

Plantu

Cynthia Fleury Perkins

Philippe Cayla (Letmevote / Europeens Sans Frontieres)

Poetry for Democracy Pt2

On both sides of the Channel, Letmevote people have shared a faible for poetry.

On the French-speaking side, Letmevote’s Chair Philippe Cayla has written a poem about what Europe can be

In these videos the poem is presented by leading French artists & figures of public life:

French actor and film director Guillaume Gallienne

French actress Murial Mayette-Holtz is also Administrateur général of the Comédie-Française

French academic and former MEP Olivier Duhamel

We are proud they share Letmevote and Europeens Sans Frontieres’ belief in our common Europe.

Outcomes: Letmevote ECI

The time period for the collections of signatures of the European Citizens Initiative (ECI) run by letmevote ended on the 28 January 2014. The ECI Committee would like to thank all those who signed during the 2013.
Unfortunately the Letmevote ECI did not succeed in collecting 1 million signatures, which would have been necessary to get our cause directly to the European Parliament. However, beyond the ECI will continue to work on the issue of voting rights for EU citizens living abroad in the EU, and are likely to resubmit an ECI when the ECI framework is reviewed by the EU Commission.
There is debate whether the ECI should or can be a policy-setting tool – directly influencing the EU Commission – or an agenda-setting tool – encouraging and leading in public debate on an issue. Letmevote’s strength has been in agenda setting. As a pure citizens initiative without even significant core funding, we concentrated our work on three levels.
letmevote_votetick1
Our first level of engagement with the world around us was by attending and speaking at relevant conferences and events, many of them in Brussels, some in Germany, UK, Luxembourg and France. For a small campaign we achieved to build great support among EU institutions, related agencies, and EU staff on different levels. All involved see the issue of how to make EU citizenship more concrete as something urgent to work on. Our Chair Philippe Cayla has tirelessly travelled and participated in too many events to remember, all of them valuable to build our reputation and broad support among institutions.
letmevote_votetick1
Our second level of engagement with the world has been via social media. Our strength has been on twitter, but we also built a reasonable community around our Facebook page. While we are aware that in many countries twitter is not yet as mainstream medium, it did allow us a new quality of outreach to people outside of the usual institutional routes.

The topic of the Letmevote ECI – voting rights for EU citizens who live outside of their home country but within the EU, as EU citizens within the EU – was never of mainstream interest to mass media outlets. While we got some media coverage in some countries, reaching the 13.6million EU citizens, who live integrated, bu with limited voting rights, across the EU in another member-state than their country of origin, was never an easy task. Twitter allowed us to build a more than interesting network – of organisations, but also of many private, politically interested EU citizens. We built a small but passionate network of volunteers from this group, and many others have kept supporting our work by retweeting our tweets and engaging with us.

We value our social network. Many EU-focused organisations do great work, but few manage to build any campaigning support among actual citizens. We are proud that during the course of the ECI, we have broken through the ‘institutional barrier’ and have developed into an active citizens-based platform to discuss voting rights for EU citizens, and to discuss how citizens can make the EU their own by engaging actively in their communities. Much of this work for Letmevote has been led by our team from LetmevoteUK, with additional work carried out in Luxembourg and Spain, and on a smaller level in Germany and Austria.

We also take it as a sign of our agenda-setting activities that new organisations with a focus on representing some of the interests of EU citizens living elsewhere than their home country have emerged. We are broadly supportive of such work, and will continue to speak at events and cooperate online with different projects who share our interests.

letmevote_votetick1

Our third level of activity has been on direct lobbying for EU citizens’ voting rights on a national level in three countries: France, Spain and Luxembourg. As the EU cannot implement voting rights for EU citizens flat-out, one of our focal points was to work with political parties and politicians on a national level to discuss and promote the concept that all EU citizens who live in a country should be allowed to participate in all elections in this country. Our work in the three countries we have focused on continues past the ECI, and we will report back on progress.

letmevote_votetick1
In 2014 we continue to build our network of supporters who believe in strong voting rights for all EU citizens like we do. In the coming months, we will run voter registration projects in France and in the UK to encourage as many native and resident EU citizens to participate in the European Parliaments Elections in May 2014 as possible.
We keep being driven by our belief that we need a strong sense of citizenship in Europe. At the core of citizenship is voting and thus civic participation in the simplest and yet most effective expression of democracy.
letmevote_votetick1
You can stay in touch via our social media contact points
Twitter:
@letmevote_UK
@letmevoteEU
@letmevote_AT
@letmevote_DE
@letmevoteLU
@LetMeVoteES

Facebook: www.facebook.com/letmevote

 

Philippe Cayla talks about Letmevote

Letmevote / Europeens Sans Frontieres Chair Philippe Cayla talks about the raison d’etre for Letmevote in this video, which was recorded at a meeting of the EESC European Economic and Social Committee (CESE Comité économique et social européen) of the European Union in late 2013.

 

Letmevote Poetry Pt1

Letmevote may be the one citizenship campaign with the strongest love of poetry. While our French Chair has written a fantastic poem about Europe in best French style, Letmevote UK has had quite a lot of fun with inventing the new genre we like to call ‘Voting Limericks’.

Our UK poetry has mostly focused on the traditional form of the Irish limerick – but we have been open for any freeform ideas available on a sunday morning! To make matters more complicated, our new genre is twitter-based, so limiting each little poem to 140 categories.

Here is a selection of Letmevote UK poems, most of which were written at the time of the letmevote ECI, so encourage people to sign.

letmevote_votetick1
If we can we should,
Help each other if we
Could.
You see, we’re in the same
Boat.
So please do help each other
Vote
letmevote_votetick1
To thy own self be true
Whether red, green or blue
Just vote
For hope
And so make your country
Anew!
letmevote_votetick1
As the night draws near
We’ve nowt to fear
With a vote we can steer
With a vote they will hear
Please do sign my dear
letmevote_votetick1
Together we can improve
We can change the groove
Tomorrow we can vote
If today you wrote
Your name to approve…
letmevote_votetick1
As night draws near
We have nothing to fear.
Together we can steer
So don’t shed a tear
Please sign my dear
Just here
letmevote_votetick1
There is no line between
Them and Us.
There is no
Yours and Mine.
What we need
Is for you to lead
And sign…
letmevote_votetick1
 It’s late but still awake
We know the need that’s innate
A vote to make legitimate.
Together we’re more than
Mates.
letmevote_votetick1
 Fairness is what we’re taught.
Your name to aid who ought.
Sign here so Others hear,
Votes aren’t for naught.
letmevote_votetick1
As tis the morn,
There is no need to mourn.
Do what’s right,
Don’t give up the fight.
Vote a right to those who are
Born.
#LetMeVote
letmevote_votetick1
It’s off to bed you go
Proud of what you know
So play your part
In the politics that’s smart
Not the politics of No!
letmevote_votetick1
Love a little longer
Vote a little stronger
Include your Other as
He may become your brother
Lets get further.
letmevote_votetick1
Because you wrote
Democracy we shall savour
Without fear nor favour
Your signature to denote
Give your name to vote
letmevote_votetick1
Before the pub,
Before the grub,
Think about hope,
Don’t accept nope,
Give your mates the vote!
letmevote_votetick1
Shame to waste
What you’ve got.
A great fame
Is yours to give
A lot.
Place your name
A game this is not.
letmevote_votetick1
Want to help your brother?
Don’t want to treat him as Other?
Want to help your sister?
As cool as any hipster?
Help: #letmevote