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YOUR RIGHT TO VOTE IN THE 2023 MUNICIPAL ELECTIONS

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2023 municipal elections

YOUR RIGHT TO VOTE IN THE 2023 MUNICIPAL ELECTIONS

On 28 May 2023, local elections will be held to select municipal governments across Spain. Some foreign nationals residing in Spain have the right to vote for their municipal representatives.

2023 municipal elections

Voting: who is allowed to vote?

In addition to Spaniards of legal age, citizens of the European Union, as well as citizens of Bolivia, Cape Verde, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Iceland, Korea, Norway, Paraguay, Peru, the United Kingdom, Trinidad and Tobago and New Zealand – as well as citizens of countries with which relevant agreements are made in the future – may vote in local elections, provided that they have legally registered their address with the local authorities and have declared their intent to vote in the Spanish municipal elections in Spain before the established deadline.

You can declare your intent to exercise your right to vote in the Spanish municipal elections online via the official website of the Instituto Nacional de Estadística (INE) or at your local town hall.

What requirements do I need to meet in order to vote?

In order to vote in the municipal elections, you must meet the following requirements:

  • Be a legal adult (18 years of age or older) on polling day.
  • Be able to certify your legal status in Spain, i.e., have a current Spanish residence permit, certificate or card.
  • Not have had your right to vote removed.
  • Be a resident of Spain with a current registered address in the municipality where you live. For EU citizens, no minimum residence period is required. Non-EU citizens from countries which have an agreement with the Spanish government must have resided in Spain for a minimum period of 3 or 5 years in order to be able to exercise their right to vote.
  • Declare your intent to vote and enrol with the Electoral Census before the deadline. The enrolment deadlines vary for EU residents and for residents of countries with an agreement:
    1. for European citizens, the deadline is 30 January 2023
    2. applications for enrolment on the Electoral Census for citizens of countries with an agreement may be made from 1 December 2022 to 15 January 2023. 

How can I check whether or not I am enrolled on the Electoral Census?

Community voters can find out at any time whether they are enrolled on the Electoral Census – and check what type of election they have expressed their intent to vote in – by contacting their local council or checking directly via the official INE website: 

What steps must European citizens take in order to be able to vote?

If you have already declared your intent to vote in previous elections and your registered address remains in the same municipality, you do NOT need to take any further steps, as you will still be enrolled on the Electoral Census. 

You can check your enrolment status on the Electoral Census by clicking the link in the previous section. 

If you have registered your Spanish address, but have not previously declared your intent to vote, you must formally declare your intent to exercise your right to vote, either by filling in a form at your local town hall (you can also download it here https://sede.ine.gob.es/manifestacionVotoPermanente/impresoDFA/CERE.DFA_ES.pdf ) or by completing the online form at the following address https://sede.ine.gob.es/manifestacionVotoPermanente/presentacion 

If you are a resident of Spain, but have not yet legally registered your address, you must go to your local town hall.

What are the requirements and steps for non-European citizens with the right to vote?

Non-EU nationals from countries with an agreement with the Spanish government, namely: Bolivia, Cape Verde, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Iceland, Korea, New Zealand, Norway, Paraguay, Peru, Trinidad and Tobago, and the United Kingdom must register to vote every time they wish to exercise their right to vote in municipal elections. 

A new Electoral Census of Foreign Nationals Resident in Spain from Countries with Agreements is re-compiled for each municipal election, meaning that enrolments are valid only in the municipal election for which they were made.

In order to exercise your right to vote, in addition to the general requirements – namely being over 18 years of age, having a registered address and holding a current residence permit – you must have been resident in Spain for the time period required by the relevant agreement.

The required periods are:

  • 5 years at the time of application for Bolivia, Cape Verde, Colombia, Chile, Ecuador, Iceland, Korea, Paraguay, Peru, Trinidad and Tobago and New Zealand.
  • 3 years at polling day for Norwegian citizens.
  • 3 years at the time of application for UK citizens.

In order to facilitate voter registration, in late 2022, the Electoral Census Office will send a notification to all non-EU foreigners who, according to their records, meet the requirements to exercise the right to vote. This letter will specify the instructions and deadlines for enrolment on the Electoral Census. 

If you receive this letter and fulfil all the requirements, you can apply online by completing the forms located on the official website of the Instituto Nacional de Estadística. You can also apply by post, in which case postage is free. 

You may also apply in person at your local town hall by filling in the form available for this purpose. 

There will be a corrections period during which foreign nationals on the INE register can check their enrolment and make any necessary corrections. If you think that you meet the requirements to vote and an error has been made, we recommend that you contact the Alicante Provincial Office of the INE Electoral Census directly. 

Applications for enrolment on the Electoral Census submitted after the deadline will be rejected; if you submit your application late, you will not have the right to vote.

Once you have submitted all the necessary forms, we recommend that you check your enrolment by clicking the following link https://sede.ine.gob.es/censo_electoral 

Can UK nationals vote in local elections?

Yes, because Article 13.2 of the Spanish Constitution recognises foreign citizens’ right to vote and stand in municipal elections provided that, respecting the principle of reciprocity, an international treaty has been signed.

After Brexit, as the UK is considered a third-party country, its citizens’ ability to vote in Spanish local elections will depend on the reciprocal arrangements put in place. The Agreement between the Kingdom of Spain and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland on the Participation in Certain Elections of Nationals of Each Country Resident in the Territory of the Other, signed in Madrid on 21 January 2019, recognises the right of British citizens residing in Spain to vote and to stand as a candidate in municipal elections.

In order to be able to exercise the right to vote in municipal elections, Spain has four requirements for British citizens residing in Spain. You must: 

  1. Be a legal resident of Spain.
  2. Have legally and uninterruptedly resided in
    Spain for at least three years prior to your request to enrol on the Electoral Census.
  3. Be legally registered with the relevant municipality at your home address.
  4. Be enrolled on the Electoral Census of Foreign Nationals Resident in Spain, according to the procedure explained in the previous section. 

If I am not in Spain on 28 May 2023, can I still vote in the municipal elections?

Yes, if you are not in Spain on polling day, you can still exercise your right to vote by post.

Remember that you must first be enrolled on the Electoral Census and have registered your address with the municipality where you live.

From the day the elections are called (or the day the deadline is announced) and up to 10 days before polling day, citizens entitled to vote may apply to vote by post. 

To do so, you must apply at the post office with your passport and residency certificate or card. All documents must be originals; simply submitting a photocopy will not be valid.

You can also apply for a postal vote via the Correos website (www.correos.es) in a section that will be set up for this purpose. 

Once you have requested your postal vote, all the relevant documentation will be sent to the address you provided. Once you receive and complete your ballot, you must take the envelope containing it to the post office in person, where it will be kept until it is counted at the appropriate time.

Just as when you vote at the polling station, your vote will be secret and confidential.

Standing for elections: who can be elected?

Also known as “passive suffrage”, this is the right to stand for election and to receive votes.

All Spaniards of legal age who are eligible to vote and who do not fall under any of the criteria for ineligibility are eligible to stand for election.

Also eligible to stand as a candidate in municipal elections are persons resident in Spain who, without having acquired Spanish nationality, are:

  • Citizens of the European Union or the United Kingdom, as the latter is party to the only non-EU treaty that recognises the right to stand for election on a reciprocal basis. 
  • Not stripped of the right to stand for election as a candidate in their country of origin.
  • Not direct or subsidiary debtors of the corresponding local authorities against whom a writ of execution has been issued by a court.
  • Not fall under any of the criteria for ineligibility set out in Article 6 of Organic Law 5/1985

What steps do I need to take to stand as a candidate in the elections?

Prospective candidates must be affiliated with a political party, as independent candidacies are not allowed in this context. 

For UK citizens, the INE Electoral Census Office and the Government are working on a Royal Decree which will regulate the procedure for candidates who wish to stand. 

European citizens wishing to stand as candidates must prove that they meet the following requirements: 

  • Are enrolled on the Electoral Census.
  • Have a valid residence card, valid foreigner’s identity card or residence certificate issued by the police.
  • Have a certificate from your country of origin certifying that you have not been stripped of the right to stand as a candidate, translated by an official sworn translator. 
  • Have a sworn declaration that you do not fall under any of the criteria for ineligibility. 
  • Have a certificate of no debts with the local authorities. 

Candidates’ documentation shall be sent to the Office of the Local Electoral Board through the party with which the candidate is affiliated within the deadlines established in the Call for Elections. 

If you wish to stand as a candidate in the municipal elections, we recommend that you collect all the documentation and check the validity of your documents beforehand with your political party and your local electoral board. 

    ALICANTE

    10 NOVEMBER

    ROJALES

    11 NOVEMBER

    ORIHUELA

    17 NOVEMBER

    TORREVIEJA

    18 NOVEMBER

    JAVEA

    24 NOVEMBER

    SAN
    FULGENCIO

    25 NOVEMBER

    BENIDORM

    1 DECEMBER

    PILAR DE LA HORADADA

    2 DECEMBER

    ALICANTE

    INFORMATION DAY

    RIGHT TO VOTE INTERNATIONAL RESIDENTS

    Thursday, 10th November, 9:30 h.

    MARQ Auditorium (Provincial Archaeological Museum)

    Plaza Doctor Gómez Ulla, s/n (Alicante)

    ROJALES

    INFORMATION DAY

    RIGHT TO VOTE INTERNATIONAL RESIDENTS

    Friday, 11th November, 10:00 h.

    Ciudad Quesada Cultural Centre

    C/ del Pino s/n – Ciudad Quesada – Rojales

    orihuela

    INFORMATION DAY

    RIGHT TO VOTE INTERNATIONAL RESIDENTS

    Thursday, 17th November, 10:00 h.

    Orihuela Playa Town Hall Headquarters

    Ctra. N-332, Orihuela

    Torrevieja

    INFORMATION DAY

    RIGHT TO VOTE INTERNATIONAL RESIDENTS

    Friday, 18th November, 10:00 h.

    Virgen del Carmen Cultural Centre

    Calle del Mar, 28 – Torrevieja

    Javea

    INFORMATION DAY

    RIGHT TO VOTE INTERNATIONAL RESIDENTS

    Thursday, 24th November, 10:30 h.

    Assembly Hall of the Casa de la Cultura

    Plaça de Baix, 6 – Jávea

    San Fulgencio

    INFORMATION DAY

    RIGHT TO VOTE INTERNATIONAL RESIDENTS

    Friday, 25th November, 10:30 h.

    Cardenal Belluga Theatre

    C/ Rojales, 16 – San Fulgencio

    Benidorm

    INFORMATION DAY

    RIGHT TO VOTE INTERNATIONAL RESIDENTS

    Thursday, 1st December, 10:30 h.

    Town Hall Assembly Hall

    Plaça de SS. MM. Els Reis d’Espanya, 1 – Benidorm

    Pilar de la Horadada

    INFORMATION DAY

    RIGHT TO VOTE INTERNATIONAL RESIDENTS

    Friday, 2nd December, 10:30 h.

    Casa de Cultura

    C/ Los Carretillas, 19 – Pilar de la Horadada

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