Voters in Spain opt en masse for postal voting on July 23

by Lorraine Williamson
election postal voting

More than 1.2 million voters in Spain have applied to vote by post in the general election on 23 July. And all indications are that this general election will break the record for postal voting in Spain. 

According to sources from Spanish news service 20minutos, more than 1.2 million voters have already applied for a postal vote. And there are still more than two weeks to go before the deadline. That is on Thursday 13 July, 10 days before the election. The reason for this increase is logical: the elections fall in the middle of summer. And that means many voters are enjoying their holidays.  

The Spanish post, Correos, does not release the official figures until a day after the deadline for applications. But the number of applications is about to reach the 1,460,000 accepted in the June 2016 general election. During the April 2019 general elections, there were a total of 1,351,659 applications. 

The number also already seems to be much higher than in the May 28 elections. Back then, Correos received 1,082,030 applications for remote voting for municipal and regional elections. Correos then reported that just under 984,108 voters completed the process (application, receipt and deposit). 

By percentage, 4.22% of the electorate voted by mail in the June 2016 general election. In April 2019, 3.89% applied for it. Only in regional elections coinciding with the covid pandemic – Basque Country (7.24%), Catalonia (5.25%) and Madrid (4.8%) – was the percentage of applications to vote by post higher. 

That the number of postal voters could go higher was already clear at the start of the application period, on 30 May. This coincided with the publication of the call for elections in the BOE (Official Gazette). On that day alone, post offices received a total of 30,000 applications to vote by post. Furthermore, that is three times more than in the last general election in 2019. The online system was not operational. 

Deadlines and process 

If you are a Spanish national, there is still time to apply for a postal vote for 23-J. All you have to do is go to a post office with your ID card and fill in an application form. On it, you specify the address to which he or she wants all related election documents sent. This does not have to be the main address as it could also be the address where the person will be staying between July 3 and July 20, when the documentation will be delivered. 

Then the Electoral Office will send the documents needed to vote to the post office (between July 3 and 16). The postman will then personally deliver the documents and ask for identification. This will be done before July 20. They will go to the home address a maximum of twice, and if the voter is not at home, they leave a message in the mailbox. Then the addressee can collect the documents at the relevant post office. 

The documentation includes the ballot papers of all political formations, a ballot envelope for each process (Congress and Senate). The proof of registration in the census. An envelope with information about the respective polling station and a sheet explaining the procedure. 

The Central Election Board has extended the deadline for depositing postal votes at each post office to Thursday, July 20. To avoid irregularities, it is mandatory to show the DNI when depositing postal votes. It is important to note that once the postal vote has been requested and accepted, it is no longer possible to vote in person at the polling station. 

Also read: War over parasols in the Spanish election campaign

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