Voting in Spain
Posted by Dreamer
Voting as a foreigner: Who can vote in Spain's elections and how to register to vote. Voting from abroad: Who can and how to vote in your home country's elections.
In many cases, when you live abroad your voice can still be heard. Here’s how to vote in Spain’s elections, as well as your home country’s elections:
Voting in Spain
The Right to Vote in Spain’s Municipal Elections
As a foreigner, you can vote in Spain’s municipal elections if you’re an official resident of Spain AND a citizen of the European Union OR a citizen of a country with which Spain has a reciprocity agreement. So far that only includes Norway. However, agreements with other countries will likely be added in the future.
The Right to Vote in Spain’s European Parliamentary Elections
You can vote in Spain’s European Parliamentary elections if you’re a citizen of the European Union AND an official resident.
Registering to Vote in Spain
You can register to vote in Spain’s elections (if eligible per the two sections above) in person at your local city hall (ayuntamiento). Once you’re officially on the list as a voter (the Registro Censal), you will be sent a Tarjeta Censal with the details of your registration and where you will need to go to vote.
Keep in mind that if you can vote in Spain, then you can run for office too!
Voting from Spain
Voting in U.S. Elections
Generally speaking, as a U.S. citizen residing abroad for any length of time for any reason, you can vote absentee (by mail).
You can register to vote and request an absentee ballot using the instructions found at the official Federal Voting Assistance Program website (http://www.fvap.gov/). Or I recommend you use the Overseas Vote Foundation (http://www.overseasvotefoundation.org/) to make the process even easier. They provide more information than the official site.
The last U.S. state you resided in prior to living abroad is considered to be your “legal state of residence.” Note that each state has its own rules, including whether or not the children of expat U.S. citizens can vote.
Voting in U.K. Elections
As a British citizen living abroad, you can vote in general UK elections and European Parliamentary elections (not local elections, Scottish Parliamentary elections, National Assembly for Wales elections, nor Northern Ireland Assembly elections) if you were registered to vote in the UK in the last 15 years. Or in the event that you left the UK as a child, if your parents were registered to vote in the UK. British citizens who have lived outside the UK for more than 15 years might not be able to vote.
If you’re eligible to vote, you can do so by mail or by proxy. The forms to do so can be found at http://www.aboutmyvote.co.uk. You’ll need to print, fill out, sign, and mail in the forms to the address specified on the forms. In addition, your application forms must be witnessed by another British citizen who is not a relative.