I normally don’t flaunt my political opinions on the Internet (even though some of you might detect which way I lean), however today I feel it is important to tell you about my experience being denied the right to vote.
Today I was denied to vote in a country where I live (resident not citizen, which is apparently the crucial point), where I pay my taxes and in a referendum that is very much going to decide my future. I’m talking about the referendum in Britain regarding in or out of the EU.
Leading up to the vote, I contacted my local borrow Barnet to inquire as to what my rights were. I told them I was a RESIDENT of the UK and got a thorough explanation by the official I was talking to as to why it was important to register in time so I would not loose out on the right to vote. I was then given a web site where I could register.
I filled in all my details online and received a letter about two weeks later in the mail where it clearly says: ‘you will be added to the Register on 01/07/2016 UNLESS (my capitals) there is an election or a REFERENDUM (again my capitals) called before then.’ Satisfied that I had done the correct thing, after all, I have the letter as proof, I walked up to my local polling station today, where I was denied the right to vote.
The lady tells me I can’t vote because there is a G by my name. ‘What does that mean?’ I ask, looking for clarification as I have a letter that tells me I can vote. They then get an ‘official’ that tells me he is not going to let me vote because there is a G by my name. Again I ask for an explanation. Someone needs to explain to me exactly why I am not allowed to vote and why there is this allusive G by my name that somehow excludes me from the voting booth.
In the mean time, there are several people in the queue getting past the lady, simply by giving their name and the first line of their address. No polling cards needed, not even an ID. If I would have been more thrifty, I would have noticed this earlier and gone over said an address and name at random, considering she sat openly with the list, ticking people off. Of curse doing that would mean I have no scruples, which is why I did not do it, even though the thought passed my mind when I was waiting in a phone queue to Barnet council. It turns out that because I’m a citizen of Sweden (another EU country, might I add) I am not allowed to vote in a referendum that will decide my future as a EU citizen living and paying taxes in another EU country.
What angers me the most, is that my future is in the hands of others and there is nothing I can do about it. If GB votes out, who knows what they will do with all the immigrants (me included) and do I really want to stay in a country that does not want me? Sitting on that chair, I had the same feeling as I had, living in the US post 9/11 where everything was dependent on me filling in the right papers at the right time for me to be able to get in and out of the country. It is not how I want to live.
Not being allowed to vote in a country where you live and pay taxes is not democracy.
As a small rebellion I am going to be extra Swedish over the weekend and celebrate Midsummer for three days!