If you are living here legally it is your right as a European citizen to vote in Spanish Elections.
Local elections take place throughout Spain every four years. The purpose is to elect the local Alcalde ( Mayor ) and councillors. Voting in local elections uses a Closed Party-list with seats allocated to each party in proportion to the number of votes the party receives; for example in a town with 15 Councillors a party with 60 percent of the votes would have 9 councillors in place.
Eligibility to Vote
EU citizens who are living in another EU member state are eligible to vote and even stand as a candidate in local and European elections.
This means that any EU citizen resident in Spain may vote in their local Spanish elections provided that:
- They are registered on the padron
- They have signed the voting form
How to Register to Vote In Spain
Only people included on the official Town Hall register (padrón municipal) may vote. This should be one of the first things done after deciding where you wish to live. The benefits of registering on the padrón includes :
- It allows EU citizens to vote
- It helps your local council apply for and allocate budgets from Regional Government properly
- It allows you to use local services, such as libraries, schools and Sports centres
- There are Tax benefits for Residents as opposed to Foreigners
( Read our article “ How to Register on the Padron “ For further Information )
The electoral census :
If you have already registered on the Town Hall register, an electoral census form should have been sent out to you, which you need to complete and submit the form at the Town Hall. Once registered on the Town Hall register, it is recommended to visit the Town Hall to check that you have been included and express your wish to vote. Just being on the register does not grant voting rights - a declaration needs to be made in order to be included on the electoral roll. To be eligible to vote it is necessary to declare, "yo quiero estar censado," literally "I would like to be in the census," therefore stating that you want to be included on the electoral roll.
You need to allow at least three months for processing to be officially registered to vote. Approximately two months before the election, you should visit the Town Hall again to confirm that this has been done. The electoral card will be posted to the voter before the election date.
How to Vote on Election Day
Each of Spain's political parties will choose representing candidates - and when you vote it is for the party and not the candidate. After the election date is announced, candidates will campaign until just before the election. Campaigning is prohibited during the two-day reflection period just prior to an election, as well as on election day, which is usually on a Sunday. Contact the Town Hall to find out the location of the local polling station (colegios electorales) – it is almost always in a public Building.
On election day, you will need to take identification and any voting papers to the polls. In the polling booth, lists of the parties running for election will be available. Choose the list of candidates, place it into one of the envelopes provided and seal the envelope. Prior to the election, some parties will post to voters a list already placed in an envelope to encourage votes for their party. After exiting the booth, go to the attendant, show identification and hand in the envelope.