99.9% of Catalans will be able to participate near their home in the alternative vote on November 9
938 of the 947 existing municipalities in Catalonia will host polling stations for the alternative consultation vote on independence scheduled for the 9th of November, which replaces the original non-binding referendum. According to the Catalan Government, this represents 99.9% of Catalans being able to vote in their own neighbourhood, town or village, without having to go to a nearby municipality. The Catalan Government will be using its own venues to host the polling stations (mainly high-schools), but it lacks them in small towns. For this reason it requested that town halls cooperate and make municipal venues available for voting. 4 additional municipalities could be added to the final list. In addition, civil societies and parties will be able to campaign in 305 Catalan Government's venues between the 30th of October and the 8th of November.
Barcelona (ACN).- 938 of the 947 existing municipalities in Catalonia will host polling stations for the alternative consultation vote on independence scheduled for the 9th of November, which replaces the original non-binding referendum. The Vice President of the Catalan Government, Joana Ortega, has emphasised that 99.9% of Catalans will be able to vote in their own neighbourhood, town or village, without having to go to a nearby municipality. The Catalan Government will be using its own venues to host the polling stations – mainly high-schools – but it does not have venues in every town of Catalonia, such as in small municipalities. For this reason the Executive requested that town halls cooperate and make some municipal venues available for voting. The deadline for town halls to suggest specific municipal venues to host polling stations on the 9th of November ended yesterday. Ultimately, there will 1,255 venues available, 89 of which will be in the municipality of Barcelona. In addition there will be 17 polling stations located abroad, in cities such as Paris, Berlin, Brussels, London, New York, Buenos Aires, Mexico, Tokyo and Sidney. However, 4 of the 9 Catalan municipalities without a listed venue by Wednesday morning have insisted that they want to cooperate. It is not clear whether these 4 municipalities will be able to provide venues in the end, since they missed the formal deadline. The other municipalities without voting venues are 2 small towns run by the People's Party (PP) and 3 tiny mountain villages with less than 100 inhabitants. In addition, between the 30th of October and the 8th of November, civil society organisations and parties will be able to campaign for or against independence. The Catalan Government will offer 305 public venues to host campaign events, such as debates and rallies. In addition, it will launch its own information campaign to inform citizens where and how to vote on the 9th of November. On top of this, on Wednesday at noon, more than 30,000 people had already registered as volunteers to help with the consultation vote's organisation, exceeding the 20,000 volunteers initially called for. 6,200 of the registered volunteers are civil servants.
Further details about the alternative consultation vote on independence that will take place in Catalonia on the 9th of November are being disclosed by the Catalan Government. On Tuesday the deadline expired for town halls to suggest their own facilities to host polling stations in the municipalities where the Catalan Government does not own a suitable venue. On Wednesday, Vice President Joana Ortega presented the list of the 938 municipalities that will host at least one of the 1,255 voting centres available to cast a ballot. These 1,255 voting venues will be hosting 6,430 polling stations, Ortega informed the press. This means that only 9 municipalities of the existing 947 in Catalonia will not be hosting at least one voting centre. According to Ortega, it means that 99.9% of Catalans will be able to cast their vote in their own neighbourhood, town or village. For instance, in the municipality of Barcelona, there will be 89 voting centres, with several polling stations in each of them.
More than 30,000 volunteers
The Catalan Vice President stated that the high registration of volunteers and the cooperation of town halls has enabled them to go for "a more ambitious deployment" of the participatory process by which citizens will be able to say whether they support a Catalan state independent from Spain or not. By Wednesday at noon, more than 30,000 people had registered as volunteers, which means 50% more than the original requested figure of 20,000 volunteers. In addition, it was the Catalan Government which stated that some 3,500 of the volunteers should be civil servants, in order to guarantee the correct development of the consultation process. Ortega added that 6,210 civil servants have already registered as volunteers. Monday 27th of October at noon will be the deadline to register as a volunteer. On Thursday 30th of October, each volunteer will be assigned a specific task on the 9th of November, including the substitute ones.
The volunteers will be in charge of signing up the voters, who will have to show their Spanish ID card. The vote will not have a previously-made census and voters will register just before casting their ballot, as is done in electoral processes in other countries such as the United States. An IT system will make sure that people do not register and vote twice. Citizens will be able to check where they have to vote by Wednesday next week.
Regarding the voting venues, only 9 municipalities will not be hosting one, according to Ortega, since they are too small for the Catalan Government to have its own facilities and the town hall did not propose an alternative venue. However, on Wednesday, 4 of the 9 municipalities stated that they do actually want to host a venue and said there had been a misunderstanding about the deadline. Ortega stressed that the deadline had already expired but the town halls would probably be able to present their allegations and propose their own venues. If they are finally accepted, there will only be 5 municipalities without a polling station; 2 of them – Pontons (500 inhabitants) and Horta de Sant Joan (1,200 inhabitants) – are run by Mayors from the People's Party (PP), which runs the Spanish Government. The other 3 are picturesque mountain towns with a population between 50 and 100 people, which lack the infrastructure to host a polling station. The Catalan Government is considering setting free public transportation to allow citizens from these 5 municipalities to travel to a nearby town and vote.
17 polling stations abroad
In addition, there will be 17 addition polling stations located abroad, for Catalans living abroad. They will be located in the Catalan Government's delegations and commercial offices to help Catalan companies reach new markets and gather foreign investment. There will be polling stations in Berlin, Brussels, Paris, Milan, London, Montreal, New York, San José, Buenos Aires, Bogotá, Mexico, Tokyo, Sydney, Sao Paulo, Santiago de Chile and Copenhagen. Furthermore, Catalans living abroad will be able to vote in downtown Barcelona, in the Palau Robert, although they will have to have been previously registered in the official 'Register of Catalans living abroad'.
On top of this, the Catalan Government will make 305 venues available between the 30th of October and the 8th of November for hosting campaign events. Civil society organisations and parties will be able to campaign for or against independence during those days, which will be officially considered as "the deliberation period". The venues offered are 241 social centres (such as elder homes or social affairs centres) and 64 cultural venues (such as libraries and archives). In addition, public media are requested to provide slots for the campaign.