Current voting system doesn’t work

Warning that’s a rant about Spanish voting system, skip it if not interested.

First of all the facts:

  • in Catalonia there were elections this past November 25th (2012)
  • as we are currently living abroad (Germany1) we need to register in a special census to be able to vote
  • the last day available to register on that register for those elections was October 15th (I could make it, Sílvia couldn’t)
  • I got within a weeks time a confirmation letter (you know that dead tree thing that postmans deliver every day) that I was successfully register and that I should because starting from October 30th to November 3th I was supposed to get the actual envelope and all the papers and forms to be able to cast my vote from Berlin itself
  • … (yes, that’s a fact I was just waiting, waiting some more, and then even some more)
  • elections where held, people living in Catalonia could vote as usual, but not me
  • lots of Catalans living abroad complained that they didn’t get the envelope and forms to be able to vote, some got their envelope and papers one or two weeks after the actual elections date2 )
  • fast forward to January 9th of 20133 I got a new letter (another dead tree thingie) saying something random about the elections, but was still not the envelope and forms to vote!

So looking at the facts… should I still have some hope left that one of my new years resolutions (be able to vote) will come true?

As a hacker and computer literate I know that it could be feasible to do electronic voting, or even going to the embassy4 or even keeping the good old post system, if there was any interest in using it.

The most amazing thing about it is that nowadays, and we have done that already quite a few times, we wake up on the morning in Berlin, take breakfast, pack some stuff in our backpacks and within 4-5 hours (just 2:30 hours of plane) we are in Barcelona chatting happily with our family and friends.

How come the voting envelope hasn’t still arrived at my home in Berlin?!


  1. Google Maps says ~1900km by car, and a flight takes 2 and a half hours from Barcelona to Berlin []
  2. You are supposed to cast your vote, when living abroad, at maximum nearly two weeks before the elections are held, so that your vote can be counted as well []
  3. nearly two months after I should got the actual envelope and forms to vote []
  4. <sarcasm>Nice and friendly btw. the ones on the Spanish embassy in Berlin, </sarcasm> []

10 pensaments quant a “Current voting system doesn’t work”

  1. For starters, too much hyperbole in your rant. Just because it was not smooth in your case (to be frank you werent making it easy for them) does not mean the whole system is broken.

    IMHO people who do not live in the country should not be voting anyway, your stake and interest in the nation is diminished by the fact that you are absent.

  2. IMHO people who do not live in the country should not be voting anyway, your stake and interest in the nation is diminished by the fact that you are absent.

    I disagree. Some people may be living abroad because they have been temporarily relocated by their company, for example. Also, I might be living abroad, but I still have family and property in my home country and I still pay some taxes there. I definitely have an interest in voting.

  3. I agree with Sancho: at most you should be able to vote in national elections but voting in local elections is ridiculous and regional should be banned too. And in national only when you are living abroad less than a certain number of years.

  4. Sancho, sorry but no. If the voting law says that if you are in the register *before* a certain date you will be able to vote, either change that voting law or make the delivery on time.

    An on top of that, within a week they post mailed me back about some info, so it’s not that the post system didn’t work, it’s just that *they* didn’t want to.

    And I’m not alone: in those elections only 10k Catalans living abroad where able to vote, while there are more than 150k Catalans living abroad, that’s way less than even 10%, when the previous elections was above 15%…

  5. I had problems in the Spanish consulate in London (inaccurate information, they don’t pick the phone, etc). To be honest, I kind of expected that… it’s not that the Spanish government bureaucracy is better in Spain.

    As other comments say, when you become a resident in a foreign country you lose your right to vote in local elections. I guess it makes sense: I’m not living there and I’m not paying taxes.

  6. It’s easy: Those people who live (even for a short time) abroad tend to understand more about what’s going on in their own country because they can see the situation both from inside and outside.

    And this is very dangerous for those earning money by seducing stupid masses (both “socialist” and “capitalist” beast). This means votes from those abroad must be eliminated…

  7. @xurfa Should someone who has his children studying abroad decide how much money to spend in education or whether to buy a hospital or a road when these things don´t affect him at all? I think I have the right to decide how to spend the money to improve my city but not someone who isn´t there and doesn´t care if there aren´t enought buses or the streets are dirty.

  8. I’m also annoyed by how badly implemented is voting from another country (I live in the Czech Republic), but I would be concerned if it was changed to be too easy, given what the PP did in order to win the regional elections in 1999:

    About losing the right to vote in the national elections because of living abroad, I would like to invite who suggested it to think a bit about what the concept of nationality means and implies. I’m either Spanish or I’m not, and once you start removing the right to vote to a group of fellow citizens, where do you stop?

    And about how embassies work… guess we need a big reform of the diplomatic body, but then where would work the children of politicians?

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