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Some 30% of expats unable to vote in December election, says report criticizes current system for its “lack of transparency” and calls for an extension to voting period


26 January 2018 06:37 PM


ACN | Barcelona

Almost 30% of the 39,521 Catalans living abroad who registered to vote were unable to cast their votes in the December 21 election. That is according to the expat organisation, which this week reported the “missing votes” and complained that “none of the people who voted knows for certain whether their vote was counted or not.”

One aspect of the system that the organisation blames for the lost votes is the need to inform the electoral authorities of one’s intention to vote in advance. According to, the “bureaucracy and tight deadlines” make the process of voting from abroad more difficult, and the organisation calls for a return to the system of true universal suffrage that existed before 2011.

What’s more, the expat organisation also criticizes the “lack of transparency and the hiding of information” in the process of voting from abroad and it complains that more than a month after the election took place, the Spanish government has still not published the data for how many votes were cast in each consulate or in each country.

Voting bureaucracy “confusing”

As well as the “missing votes”, the organisation also highlighted the so-called “discarded votes”, which are votes that arrived but were not accepted for bureaucratic reasons, such as missing accompanying documents. “To vote by mail you have to include 3 envelopes, and 2 certificates and attach a document of identity, and that adds to the confusion,” the organisation complained in its report.

As well as highlighting “irregularities” in the system for voting from abroad, the organisation’s report also made suggestions for improvements. Apart from eliminating the system that requires voters to inform of their intention to vote, the organisation also proposes extending the voting period for foreign residents up to the day of the election itself. The expat organisation also calls for greater use of “digital tools” to improve the handling and follow-up of votes.



  • A woman voting in Brussels (by ACN)

  • A woman voting in Brussels (by ACN)