European voting roundup

European Parliament and many Italian municipalities

Next Sunday, 25 May, will be election day in Italy for 73 candidates for a seat in the European Parliament, but also for mayors and town councillors in over 4,000 municipalities, as well as two regional councils, Abruzzo and Piemonte.

If you are not Italian but are an EU citizen resident here, you can still vote for a member of the European Parliament (MEP) as long as you have completed the registration procedure. Non-Italian EU citizens opting to vote in Italy are known as “optanti”, and need to apply to their town hall of residence for a voter registration card (tessera elettorale). The form to be used to apply is available from this page of the Ministry of the Interior website; it is available in Italian and most other EU languages.

For this election, the deadline for applying is already past – it was 25 February – but if you have already registered correctly for a previous election, then your registration is still valid. Your name will appear on the “additional list” (lista aggiunta) of voters. If you were entered on the additional list of a previous place of residence, but have since moved, your name should have been automatically transferred to the list in your new place of residence. But it is advisable to check with the election office of your town hall that the transfer has taken place correctly, especially if your move was recent.

Polling stations will be open in Italy from 07.00 to 23.00 on Sunday. Unlike in some previous elections, they will not be open again on the following day. Voters will need to show their voter registration card and a valid photo-ID, that is, a document recognised as legal proof of your identity – passport, identity card, driving licence or similar – and bearing a photo of yourself. If you are not sure where your seggio or polling station is, call the election office, or ufficio elettorale, of the municipality where you are registered as resident; they will need to know your exact address.

If you have lost your voter registration card, or if it is stolen or too damaged to be used, the election office of your town hall will issue you with a new one. The election offices in Italian town halls will be open for this kind of operation all day Friday and Saturday from 09.00 to 18.00, and all day Sunday during voting hours.

If you are physically disabled and unable to reach the polling station without help, your local town hall will provide transport and staff to enable you to reach the polls and vote. Call the election office of your town hall to find out how to book this service.

In the cabina or voting booth, you vote by drawing a cross over one – and only one – symbol of the political parties and lists standing for election. This is enough for a valid vote, but if you wish you can further express a preference by writing next to the symbol up to three names of individual candidates (surname or fore- and surname in the case of candidates with the same surname) from the same party as the one you indicated with a cross. If you name more than one individual “preference”, you must ensure that both genders are represented, otherwise your vote will be invalid.

Remember that it is illegal to take photos or “selfies” in the polling booth, so if you have a camera or a photo-enabled cellphone with you, you must leave it with the staff while voting and collect it, together with your voter registration card and ID, when you have finished.

Milan city hall has provided a website with detailed instructions on the European Elections 2014, which includes chapters on all the parties and lists standing for election and their candidates, how to find out exactly where your polling station is, and much more: click the link to the left.

General Info