September 3 2014 Latest news:
Annabelle Dickson, Political Editor
Tuesday, May 27, 2014
Breckland council has been forced to apologise after a registration mix-up saw a German national in Dereham denied her Euro vote.
Marion Broughton’s name was crossed off a list at her polling station on Thursday, despite a call from her in the run up to the poll to check she could exercise her democratic right.
Although foreign nationals are not permitted to vote in general elections, people born within the European Union can cast their vote in local and EU elections where they live.
The Dereham mother said she had been anxious to counter the “anti-European movement” by casting her ballot.
Mrs Broughton, who has been living in Breckland for 20 years and works at Neatherd High School, said a poll card had always arrived automatically with her English husband’s, after she had filled in a registration form.
When it did not arrive this year she queried it with Breckland Council, but was told she just needed to take some identification along to the polling station.
Breckland insisted that it had sent forms and a prepaid return envelope to all Breckland residents on its electoral register who were European citizens.
But said in a statement: “We are writing to Marion Broughton with our sincere apologies for the advice given over the phone when she got in touch about not receiving a poll card. We regret the advice to attend the polling station was not correct and have now taken steps to ensure this doesn’t happen again.”
Mrs Broughton said that after taking to social media to voice her concerns she had found others had had problems and there had been inconsistencies in the way the election worked.
She said: “It is very worrying to see where this country could be heading if a certain party came to more power - and it makes me seriously think about leaving the UK which I called my home for so many years, and where my son Max, who is now 15, was born.
“I have always taken my duty to vote in elections very seriously, and I feel that, especially as a woman, it is disrespectful not to vote as people have died so that I would get this right.
“This time though I feel that I have been denied my right to vote.”