European Parliament Office in Madrid presented yesterday to consuls of the member states the campaign ‘thistimeimvoting.eu‘, whose objetive is to facilitate the vote of European Union citizens residing in Spain.
This campaign, in which The Diplomat collaborates, is intended to make citizens aware of the importance that European Parliament work has for their daily life and, therefore, increase the number of foreign voters in the elections of next May 26, as the EP’s Office Director, María Andrés, and the head of European Commission’s Political Analysis service, Jochen Müller, pointed out before a large consular representation of the 27.
During the meeting, it was highlighted “the need to make easier the expatriates’ right to vote“. So, María Andrés proposed to consular representatives to strengthen coordination in order to inform european citizens in Spain of the requirements they must meet to vote, where they should go and how they can request registration, among other aspects.
More than one and a half million community citizens reside in Spain. However, in the last elections to the European Parliament, only 418,000 registered to vote, barely 22.65% of the total. In a large number of cases, the lack of information and bureaucratic procedures were key to discourage many potential voters.
Among other problems, at the meeting it was disclosed that at least 25% of notifications from the Census Bureau did not reach the recipients due to problems such as non-updated addresses. Therefore it was suggested that consulates try to encourage their nationals to go to the respective town councils to request their registration in the electoral list before next January 30.
Two representatives of the Spanish Institute for National Statistics (INE) also participated in the meeting. They answered the technical doubts raised by the consuls, to whom both the Office of the European Parliament and the INE offered all their collaboration.