Polls open for European elections 2024: 5.7 million people in Catalonia called to vote

2,934 polling stations open across territory closing at 8 pm, with results announced after 11 pm

A person votes in the Catalan election in May in Girona
A person votes in the Catalan election in May in Girona / Ariadna Reche
Catalan News

Catalan News | @catalannews | Barcelona

June 9, 2024 09:00 AM

June 9, 2024 01:20 PM

Polling stations in Catalonia opened at 9 am on Sunday for the crucial European elections on June 9. 

More than 5.7 million residents of Catalonia can cast their vote until 8 pm at one of the 2,934 polling stations, according to the Spanish government delegation in Catalonia. 

There are about 42,000 people involved in the electoral process, including polling station workers, vote counters, and security agents.

There will be a total of 1,787 ballot boxes throughout Catalonia, with equipment used in the last Catalan elections being reused. The budget for the organization of the elections in Catalonia was around €1.2 million.

Mail-in vote requests decreased by 27.5% in Catalonia compared to the last EU elections in 2019. A total of 81,819 Catalans have requested mail-in voting, with some 22,000 doing so online, although they will have to go to a post office to cast their vote. 

Following a copper theft on the Rodalies commuter train network on the day of the Catalan election on May 12, which caused major disruptions throughout the territory, the Spanish government announced that the Catalan police Mossos d'Esquadra and the railway operator Adif would "increase" surveillance.

Voters, turnout, results

People over 18 years of age with any EU nationality residing in Spain and who have registered to vote in time are eligible to vote. 

Across Spain, more than 35 million people will vote in an election that will shape the EU's next policies on issues such as defense, climate change and migration for the coming years.

Some 370 million voters across the EU will elect 720 representatives to the next Parliament, the only EU institution directly elected by citizens every five years.

Some countries, like the Netherlands, voted on Thursday, while others, like Ireland, voted on Friday. Sunday is the voting day for the remaining EU countries.

Voter turnout is one of the main challenges for EU elections: in 2019, turnout was 50.6% on average across the different member states, exceeding 50% for the first time since 1994.

In Spain, however, turnout was unusually high, at 60.7%, as it coincided with local elections and the height of the independence push, with former Catalan president Carles Puigdemont and former vice president Oriol Junqueras running for seats in the European Parliament. 

In these elections, expectations are the opposite. Polls predict a higher turnout across Europe, but a significantly lower turnout in Spain. A significant shift to the right is also expected, with far-right parties gaining votes and seats across the EU.

Unlike national elections, EU elections treat each country as a single constituency, with Spain being the fourth largest in the Union, electing 61 seats out of the 720 representatives in the chamber. 

The election results will be announced on Sunday evening. However, it will be later than most local and national elections because polls close in Italy at 11 pm and results cannot be announced earlier to avoid influencing voting in other countries.