New elections, old problems

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The options for Spanish citizens to vote from abroad have decreased for June 26th

The electoral census of permanent migrants was closed in March, when the call for elections for June 11th was published. At that time, the option of registering at a consulate as a temporary resident ceased to be an option for those who had registered a year ago for the regional and municipal elections, thus limiting their right to vote.

Once again Spanish migrants are to suffer, for the seventh consecutive time – and this time it is sharper than ever, the consequences of a voting system known as the “pleaded vote”. This system was imposed by an electoral law which was passed in 2010 by the PSOE (the party in power at the time), and with the support of the conservative Popular Party, the Catalan nationalist party CiU and the Galician nationalist party BNG, and has been in force since 2011. This law which presumably would guarantee people’s rights has in fact reduced the turnout rate of people voting from abroad in 85%.

Up to now, people who were not registered in the census for permanent residents abroad within fifty days before the election call, had the option of signing up in person in the registry for temporary residents abroad, and to “plead” their right to vote. Many migrants signed up in that temporary registry in order to be able to vote in the regional and municipal elections of 2015. However, according to the Spanish law, this temporary registry is only valid for a year. After that those on the list are deregistered and redirected to the permanent census, which has been closed for the June elections since March. In addition, at this time none of the registered permanent residents have received their telematic access password for “pleading” their right to vote online, which is making the processing extremely difficult.

Those registered in the Permanent Census lose their right to health care in Spain

The only possibility to plead the right to vote for those who have been registered as temporary residents for a year, is to go in person to the consulate during the claims period, which started on Monday 9th and ends next Monday, May 9th. Only during this week, which is about to end, can they request, in person, to be included in the permanent census and plead the right to vote until the 28th of May. However, registering in the permanent census hinders migrants to access health services in Spain. These people must then decide whether to prioritise their right to vote or their right to access health care. This is not just an unfair choice, but it also means that thousands of people can simply not afford to choose and to lose their right to health care.

The Copenhagen Case

In the absence of information from the Spanish Government on duty –the first official informative video was on May 6th, ten days before the end of the rectification period of the census – Marea Granate is already underway disseminating information and answering questions about the process of voting from abroad.

Among all the emails that Marea Granate manages every day, the case of Copenhagen stands out. We receive numerous complaints about the Embassy in the Danish capital, because it is illegally denying access to the temporary census (ERTA) and therefore, preventing many people their only option for voting. The reasons argued by the Embassy, as recognised by the Facebook page “Spaniards in Copenhagen”, is that this type of registry is only for tourists. However, article 5.3 of the Royal Decree on the Consular Registry just says that, “if after one year, [those registered as non residents – temporary residents-] have established their habitual place of residence in the consular area, they must request their inclusion as [permanent] residents”.

In conclusion, permanent residents have not yet received the password to the telematic pleading; those who are temporary residents have most likely been registered as such for more than a year, and the registry is no longer valid; and those who are not registered at all are being denied their only chance of voting, which is registering as temporary residents. It is essential to eliminate the pleaded vote, but also to the system which is, without doubt, an obstacle course.

Therefore, once again we will soon announce global mobilizations to denounce, for the seventh time, the pleaded vote system.

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  1. Julia 23/06/2016 at 11:33

    Hola, me han llegado las papeletas hoy día 23 así que mi voto está fuera de plazo. HAY ALGUIEN QUE ESTÉ DISPUESTO A VOTAR POR MI POR FAVOR?

    Un saludo

  2. Jose 22/06/2016 at 8:42

    No se si estais registrando esta incidencia, pero no estan llegando todas las papeletas para votar en las elecciones del 26J. En mi caso llegaron todos los partidos posibles excepto la de unidos-podemos. He visto en facebook denuncias similares, cosa que es muy muy grave.

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