LONDON   -   A nationwide picture is emerging of EU citizens in the UK being denied their democratic right to vote in the European parliament elections because of administrative errors by local councils. Reports are coming in from across the country of EU nationals turning up at polling booths and finding their names crossed out and being told by officials they are not eligible to vote.

Dozens have contacted the Guardian to say that the forms they had to sign to declare they were choosing to vote in this country had either turned up too late or not turned up at all.

Several have been told they should vote in their own country. One was advised to go to her embassy, something which pro-EU campaigner Gina Miller said demonstrates how the “hostile environment” has now infected elections. German nationals Kat Sellner and Moritz Valero said they were “shocked” to find they could not vote despite returning the forms on 2 May.

“It is unacceptable that this government and the election officers have discriminated against EU citizens. “I will not be silenced and EU citizens will not be silenced,” said Valero.

After emerging from the polling station on the Isle of Dogs in east London, Valero said the officials were “very nice” but told her there was nothing they could do. They gave her a number to phone, which was the same number they had complained to last week when their ballot paper did not show up.

They received a letter at the end of April informing them they had to fill in a form to tell Tower Hamlets council they would vote in the UK and not Germany.

“I went there in person with the forms on 2 May in the rain because we didn’t trust the post would get there by the 7 May deadline. We didn’t receive a receipt, they didn’t stamp the letters, the woman said she was going to put them in a box with the other letters,” said Sellner.

Three days ago an increasingly anxious Valero phoned and was told they were not registered “because they only received the forms on the 16th”. Sellner protested again to Tower Hamlets and was told the forms were only “stamped” on 16 May, two weeks after they handed them to the council and one week after the deadline for registering.

In an extraordinary development, Tower Hamlets, informed the couple six hours later that they had checked the CCTV footage from 2 May and were able to confirm that Sellner was telling the truth and had submitted her papers ahead of the deadline.

“We have contacted them to tell them the good news, they can vote,” said a spokeswoman for Tower Hamlets.

Joanna Cherry, SNP MP, who has raised the issued repeatedly said: “This is good news, but it is also a grave and serious error that people were denied their vote because of a failure in electoral administration.”

Similar stories are being told up and down the country. The Guardian received more than 300 emails in the space of a few hours from EU citizens, including one Irish family in Liverpool who said they were denied the right to vote even though Irish citizens are treated like British citizens and can vote in all elections without any special forms.

Others have complained they were not told they had to fill in a separate form, even after registering for the local elections, the only other election in which EU citizens are eligible to vote in the UK.

“I went to the polling station today and was turned away and informed about some mysterious form that no one was able to tell me more about,” said Polish national Kinga Burger. “I’m really angry and disappointed I didn’t get to vote today.

“I actually spent a lot of time thinking which elections I should vote in and in the end I decided to vote in the UK now as I’ve lived here for over a decade and it is home,” said Burger.

Another Polish national, Piotr Klaskala, said: “What I find particularly surprising is that I could see my name and current address on the list in the polling station (which suggests that I have registered successfully) but it was crossed out.”

Another German national complained that she had registered to vote but was not told by her electoral office in Ceredigion that she needed to fill in another form.

“I’m German and registered to vote online at the same time as my British husband weeks in advance. He received a polling card but I didn’t. I found out through the media two days ago that an extra form was needed. I contacted the office, they emailed the form yesterday asking for it to be returned signed the same day which was impossible. Not even the hint of an apology or explanation from them,” said Cyrine Amor.

Andreas Jensen told the Guardian that had returned the so-called EC6 or UC1 forms, but like Sellner and Valero, turned up at his polling booth and was told he could not vote.

“I received a form, filled it out and returned it well in advance of the deadline, but never received a ballot paper … Showed up at the ballot station with passport and proof of address but was not allowed to vote,” said Jensen.

MEPs who could have benefited from EU citizens’ votes in this election have expressed alarm. I dismay at the posts under #deniedmyvote - we cannot let fellow citizens’ rights be taken away by an incompetent government. If you’re an EU27 citizen USE YOUR VOTE and if you’re denied it don’t let it rest.

Two days ago the3million campaign group made a formal complaint to the electoral commission that EU citizens were being disenfranchised.

The commission said it had no legal authority to tell councils when to send out the EC6/UC1 forms or how to deal with them but that it has made recommendations to the government to overhaul and simply the system.

Cherry has also raised concerned with Theresa May after being contacted by a number of “distressed voters” in parliament on Thursday asking her to urgently make the EC6 and UC1 forms available in polling booths. May did not respond to her specific request.

Cherry raised the issue in an early-day motion with Change UK MP Mike Gapes and Labour MP Catherine West in parliament and has vowed to return to it after recess.