Some EU nationals have been wrongly sent postal votes and polling cards for the UK’s referendum because of a “systems issue”, the Electoral Commission has said. The mistake means a number of EU nationals will have their votes cancelled and receive letters explaining they are not eligible to take part in the 23 June poll on British membership of the EU after all. The Electoral Commission said a “small number” of people were affected but it could not yet confirm exactly how many. The problem emerged when Iain Duncan Smith, a leading Brexit campaigner and former work and pensions secretary, complained to the Electoral Commission and David Cameron that he was hearing worrying reports from a number of sources about EU nationals receiving polling cards.
People are only eligible to vote in the EU referendum if they are citizens of the UK, another Commonwealth country, or Ireland.
In a reply to Duncan Smith, the commission said one report of a Polish voter in Kingston getting a polling card was due to him declaring himself British on his registration form and the matter had been referred to the police.
But it also acknowledged that there had been a problem with classification of voter nationality that meant some ineligible EU nationals had been sent postal votes and polling cards.