Can foreigners vote in the elections of May 28, 2023?

In the streets of Spain, posters and banners of local and national political parties are everywhere to encourage everyone to go to the polls on Sunday May 28 during the municipal elections. In addition, the mailboxes are filled with leaflets and leaflets in which the politicians announce their program. Many Dutch and Belgians residing in Spain have received an election notice by post. But what exactly? Can I… or must I vote as a foreigner in Spain and how does it work?

On Sunday 28 May there will be two elections in many places in Spain: the Autonomous Region election (elecciones autonómicas) which is regional and the Municipal election (elecciones municipales) which is local. As a foreigner (from the European Union) in Spain, to vote at local/municipal level, you must be registered in the register ‘Censo Electoral de Extranjeros Residentes en España ‘, which had to be done by January 30, 2023 using their NIE number (número de Identificación de Extranjero) and proof of empadronamiento (domiciliation).

If you have never done it before and if you haven’t done it this year, you cannot vote locally in Spain. This means that you are registered as a foreign resident with the municipality of your place of residence, but because you do not reside in the ‘Censo Electoral de Extranjeros Residentes en España ‘ is registered, you cannot vote for the municipal council of your place of residence in Spain. If you are correctly registered, you will have received your voting certificate (tarjeta censal) by ordinary mail before May 1st. This ballot shows where you can vote.

How many foreigners?

In total there are in Spain 35 million voters who can therefore vote for the autonomous/regional and local/municipal elections. There are also totals 1,055,653 foreigners who live in Spain and are registered as having the right to vote.

There is also below 11,804 Dutch and 30,693 Belgians according to the latest figures Spanish Statistical Office INE. There are therefore almost three times as many Belgians as Dutch who have registered in the register, while officially many more Dutch than Belgians live in Spain.

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