A toolkit to remedy the disconnect between UK voters & European Parliament
updated 14 April 2019
Westminister Parliament has been such a mess, and people will be slow to realise that UK registered voters will be given the opportunity to vote in May for UK Members of the European Parliament.
Low turnout will be used as a weapon; driving a further wedge between Brexit-weary people and a political system unfit for the 21st century.
24 April 2019 Candidate Forms due to Electoral Commission
7 May 2019 Voter Registration closes.
23 May 2019 Polling Day in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland & Wales
It is easy to vote in the UK. Ensuring you and your circle are ready to vote is critical. Dark money and overseas influences may be able to buy advertising but they cannot do what you can: put your ballot in the box on the day.
A sample action that’s free and easy to take now
I saw this tweet. So I wrote an SMS message, and sent it to every UK-based person in my SMS inbox. 47 texts took me less than 30 minutes.
Here’s what I said:
I’m just touching base with friends to see that they are registered to vote in the upcoming European Parliament elections. Postal voting is available if you’ll be out of town.
Registration closes on 7 May, and EU27 citizens voting for MEPs here need to opt-in. Let me know what links you need to help everyone get registered in time.
And enjoy your Sunday!
Ps copy-and-paste to send to your friends.
So far, one EU27 business owner has asked for the EU27 voting links by email; and a handfull of friends have confirmed they’re registered and/or they will share the message with their friends.
One person asked:
“Is the thinking that if people are active in voting in these it gives a good gauge for another ref?”
To which I replied: Yes, absolutely from a domestic perspective, the big parties need to see voters using their EP vote constructively.
But also, the EU27 will meet with Mrs May in June. If UK turnout has been low AND destructive jokers have been elected by voters for UKIP and Farage’s new party, then the UK is sending a message that it STILL doesn’t care about the work the EU does. If we lose EU27 cooperation whilst we’re still in limbo, then we risk a lot. Please help people realise that a constructive vote for a serious parliamentarian not a joker or saboteur means a lot for all our futures.
Another sample action that’s free and easy to take now
Here’s the email I sent my mother-in-law, who is an introvert.
Thank you so much for marching alongside us on March 23. It meant the world to me that we were all together, and I’m glad that it was me you chose to accompany you on your first-ever march.
Today, I’m writing to ask you please to do something I know you’ll hate but which I think you’ll agree is good for democracy. Fortunately, it can be done at home, rain or shine.
It’s about the European Parliament Elections being held across 28 countries in May. Here in the UK, the date is 23 May 2019.
Millions are being spent on advertising promoting NoDeal even though it will be a calamity. Now a new party promoting Brexit has been formed. In both cases, the source of funding is not known. Face to face conversations are the best buttress against ignorance winning.
Before the Voter Registration deadline 7 May 2019, please can you have conversations with:
- Person 1
- Person 2
- Person 3
The conversation is two-fold. Please can each check they appear on the Electoral Register. If they do not, it’s easy to sign up online but without delay. Here is the link.
(If the person doesn’t have their National Insurance Number to hand, the NI Number can be retrieved or requested here on https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/hm-revenue-customs/contact/national-insurance-numbers)
Second, it’s hard to know what candidates will stand, given the short notice. But for now, voters in your area can look here to see who has stood and been elected in the past.
- The two national parties who have been strong pro-European advocates are Liberal Democrat and Greens; and Greens are international. Also the Yorkshire Party is allied with SNP and Plaid Cymru so safely pro-European.
- The Labour MEP Richard Corbett I can personally recommend because he has led well. https://www.richardcorbett.org.uk
- The parties standing in 2014 that wish to reduce rights and break up the EU include: UKIP, Conservative, An Independence from Europe, BNP, English Democrat, No2EU. Also Farage may have a Brexit Party candidate.
If I didn’t think this would directly affect [your son’s] and my work prospects and our daughter’s future, I wouldn’t ask something so awkward. I truly do feel it is that important.
I’ll give you a call at the weekend, to check in and see how it’s going.
You can copy and paste my note, change it any way you want, and send it on to your mother, your daughter or son, your bingo or salsa partner.
You can use Wikipedia to find your recipient’s constituency. The anti-EU candidate parties may differ in each.
Voting for Europe (as of 14 April 2019)
- Voters are hungry for recommendations. For non-partisan recommendations, a newspaper (like the Guardian did in 1992, 2009) or an NGO (like European Movement? Compass?) needs to step up.
- Here are two sources based on preliminary information: from @PascalLTH and @Metatone
- People need to decide if they priortise beating Farage/Hannan or electing the best public servants. A tool to assess MEP participation for all member states is here.
- Labour MEPs have signed a Pro-Europe manifesto (so far, only found on Huffington Post)
- Pro-Eu lists formed top-down may not be possible under Electoral Commission rules. Indivdual voters on a region-by-region basis need to prepare that anything permissible must be driven from the ground up.
EU27 Citizens Can Vote in British European Parliamentary Elections
EU27 citizens need to opt-in, not simply be on the UK Electoral Roll.
The UK Electoral Commission created this website: https://www.yourvotematters.co.uk/
Advice from the3Million campaign group about Euro Parliamentary Elections 2019 is here: https://www.the3million.org.uk/how-to-register-to-vote
Digital tools to help
Last year, the European Commission used the Nationbuilder tool to make websites for each of the 28 member states. Ours is shared with Ireland.
The remarkable overhaul of the UK’s government’s own digital communications and its universal reach puts voter registration and voting information in easy reach.
Wikipedia provides a wonderful service accessible to all. Pages for each European Parliamentary Constituency are maintained, and all voters can see the boundaries, the list of current MEPs by sub-region and party; and who stood in 2014 ranked by % of turnout.
In 2019, the UK Electoral Commission launched a new site, Your Vote Matters, I find attractive and easy to use. The tagline is especially poignant.
BBC explainer on how voting works
European Parliament explainer on how voting in UK works
EU voter activation downloadable posters, templates, etc
Useful links from This Time I’m Voting (EU voter activation project)
MyEU.uk Visual interactive map of how EU funds have enriched life in the UK, made with love by Tech For UK.
More tools to come
Thanks to technology journalist Mike Butcher, an extraordinary network of technology teams have contributed, often at lightening speed, to the toolkit anti-Brexit and pro-European grassroots groups can use.
As the reality of the upcoming British elections of Members of European Parliament becomes ever more obvious, I imagine more tools being devised to make it easier to enrol new voters, get friends to check their electoral roll status, and arrange ride shares on polling day.
The network is called @TechForUK.
Much of the data is open-source. The ingenuity Tech For UK teams bring is making the apps fun and easy to use.
I am not a member of any group, party, tribe. I’m here on Medium, Twitter and in real life to help people do hard things. That includes summoning the social courage to vault over awkwardness because something matters and the clock is ticking.
A bit more about me here.
I help people hear the signal through the noise; see to the farthest horizon of possibility and ready themselves to navigate towards it.
And I will speak truth to power.