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Bradford teacher told: ‘Go to Germany if you want to vote’
6:00am Monday 26th May 2014 in News
A German woman who has lived in the UK for nearly 30 years was barred from voting in the European elections and later told she would have to go back to Germany to vote.
Karin Murach, a teacher who has lived in the district since 1985, was told she couldn’t cast her vote in the European Parliamentary elections when she turned up at her local polling station on Thursday.
And when her husband, British IT worker Michael Ward, rang Bradford Council’s electoral services to complain, he was told his wife would have to go back to Germany if she wanted to vote.
Mrs Murach said: “I just feel it’s not fair because firstly, I am entitled to vote, and secondly, people like me won’t vote for anybody interested in leaving the European Union.
“If I am not the only person in this position, the elections won’t quite be what they should be.”
As a German citizen resident in the UK, Mrs Murach is allowed to participate in local and European elections, but not general elections.
Dr Ward said the couple had gone to their polling station, in Allerton Road, Allerton, on Thursday. He said while his wife has previously voted in the European elections without a hitch, this year, she was told she was only allowed to vote in the local elections.
He said: “When we protested, and pointed out that she was an EU citizen and therefore allowed to vote in EU elections, they insisted: ‘There’s a ‘G’ against her name, and ‘Gs’ aren’t allowed to vote in EU elections.’ “We explained: ‘Yes, ‘G’ stands for German. Germany is in the EU, and EU citizens are entitled to vote in European Elections’, but to no avail.”
He said the next day he called the council’s election team to complain, only to be told, twice, that his wife would have to go to Germany to vote.
He said: “When I twice pointed out that this is untrue, I was told that someone from the back office would ring me back to discuss it further. I’m still waiting.”
A Bradford Council spokesman said: “We cannot comment on individual instances but if forms are not sent back or are filled in incorrectly people are unable to vote.”