(all information is correct to the best of my ability)
All polling stations open 9am to 8pm.
Where and how to cast my vote!
If you are on the Electoral Roll for your municipality (so that you can vote in local elections), you will have had the opportunity to choose to vote in the European elections here in Spain. That will then give you the permission to be able to vote on Sunday. You should then receive a Tarjeta Censal which is a voting card ( attached photo). If you have not already received one, it could have been delayed in the post but it is more likely that you did not choose to vote in Spain in the European Elections
This gives very useful information about the polling station but you do not need to have one to be able to vote, so long as you’re on the list. The card is exactly the same as in the UK: it tells you the name of the polling station, the room and the table to go to inside. On the photo attached you will see that in Benitachell we vote at the local school (Grupo escolar Sta Maria Magdalena) and I, for example, have to go to section 001 and table (mesa) C.
What the card does not say is the date and the time!! The date is SUNDAY 25 May (all elections in Spain are on Sundays) and (so far as we understand) all polling stations are open from 9am until 8pm. Note that these are different from the UK.
Before you go to the poll
You may know who you want to vote for already. However you may want to check up on their policies or look at a range of parties. With the internet this is not a difficult process. There are 39 different parties standing in these elections http://www.europeanvoice.com/page/european-elections-2014-list-of-candidates-european-voice/3986.aspx You will find the Conservatives (PP) Socialists (PSOE) BLOC (Compromís) the Earth Party, the Pirate Party, the Communists and many more. To find out about their policies go to http://www.elections2014.eeu/en. You should note that Spain is not regionalised for this election. Everyone in Spain votes for the one group of people who will represent the whole country in the European Parliament.
What to take to the Polling Station
If you have the voting card, take it PLUS identification:
either your actual passport (not an out of date one or a copy) or a driving licence with your photo on it.
I always take both!! You must present these at the voting table. You will then be allowed to vote.
These are totally different here in Spain. This is because here you vote for a political party and not for a political candidate. This is because the voting system is by proportional representation: broadly, if a particular party gets, say, 56% of the votes then they get 56% of the seats. The head of the list of each party generally has their face on the posters!! MEPs here are called diputados
So, there are 39 different political parties standing in these elections. They are standing for the 54 seats allocated to Spain (73 for Britain because of the different population sizes). There will be, therefore, be lots of piles of voting papers at the polling stations (as you see in the photo below). Each one is for a political party and has the names of all its candidates on it. Take the one you want. Do not write on it. Do not put a cross or a tick. Anything written will invalidate your vote. Put the list you have chosen into the envelope provided (marked Elecciones). Then put it in the voting box (that is much the same as the UK).
A word of warning!
Polling stations in the UK are like walking into a cathedral. Everybody is very quiet and everyone minds their own (serious) business about voting. Dogs, children and even talking are NOT encouraged. Here in Spain the election is chance to have a party, to chatter, to enjoy a sunny day and watch democracy in action. You will be watched all the time you are in the polling station…..do not take offence, there will be people telling you where you go, where to queue. It is all part of the process of voting. Democracy is new here. It is valued and another excuse for a fiesta!
These will be declared on Sunday/Monday. 751 MEPs for the whole of Europe. You will need to go onto one of the above web sites to find what is happening or watch Euronews television, which is a European news channel and is available in English. All our votes will determine the type of the European Parliament we are to have for the next 5 years and they will be a guide as to who is chosen as the President, to follow President José Manuel Barroso.
If you are registered to vote then please vote. Democracy only works if we all take part and make our choices. Don’t leave your future to others.
Margaret Hales provided an interesting talk at the May Monthly Meeting with regards to her life in Politics and information about voting when living in Spain. Below are the links the the various websites related to Voting in the European elections and Voting in Britain.
- For voting in Britain, registration and postal and proxy votes www.aboutmyvote.co.uk
- For information on the European Elections http://www.elections2014.eu/en
- For information on the campaign to have the vote restored to all British citizens http://votes-for-expat-brits-blog.com/
- To contact your last UK MP http://www.parliament.uk/mps-lords-and-offices/mps/
- To sign the Government petition to stop the victimisation of British pensioners getting the Winter fuel allowance http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/52121