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How to vote in person in Spain’s municipal elections

On May 28th, local municipal elections will be held throughout Spain. Find out if you're eligible to vote and how to vote in person.

How to vote in person in Spain’s municipal elections
How to vote in person in Spain's municipal elections. Photo: JORGE GUERRERO / AFP

On Sunday, May 28th, local municipal elections (known as elecciones municipales in Spanish) will be held across the country.

There will also be regional elections in most autonomous communities held on the same day, though not in all regions. This year, there are regional elections across the country except in Andalusia, Catalonia, Galicia, the Basque Country and Castilla y León, where they have already been held in the last couple of years.

READ ALSO – Spain’s regional elections: Who will win in each autonomous community?

Foreigners cannot vote in the regional elections unless they have Spanish citizenship, but some can vote in the municipal elections.

Who can vote in the municipal elections?

Any EU citizen residing in Spain is eligible to vote, as well as non-EU citizens from countries who have a bilateral voting agreement with Spain.

Spain currently has bilateral agreements with Norway, Iceland, Bolivia, Cape Verde, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, New Zealand, Peru, Paraguay, South Korea, Trinidad and Tobago and the UK.

In order to vote you need to have registered to do so as well as:

  • Have a legal residence permit in Spain.
  • Have legally resided in Spain continuously for at least three years prior to your registration.
  • Be domiciled in the municipality where you want to vote and appear in the municipal register. 

If you have registered to vote and meet all the criteria above, you will be able to vote in person on Sunday, May 28th.

Where to go and when?

Polling stations are usually located in local schools or other public buildings. You can find out your nearest one from your local town hall. They will open at 9am on May 28th, 2023 and close at 8pm the same day.

If you are inside the polling station when the clock strikes 8pm, but still haven’t voted, you will still legally be able to complete your vote. 

Identify yourself

When you arrive at your local polling station you will first need to identify yourself. You can use several different official documents or cards to identify yourself. These include:

  • National identity document (DNI) if you have Spanish citizenship
  • Passport
  • Driver’s licence (with photo)
  • Green EU residence card, for citizens of the European Union (remember though this doesn’t include a photo, so you will probably also need your passport or other photo ID)
  • Foreign identity card or TIE for non-EU nationals whose country has a bilateral agreement.

Can I take time off work to vote?

If you have to work for whatever reason on Sunday, May 28th, you may find it tricky to find time to vote, however, according to the instructions from the Spanish government employers should provide the necessary measures to give voters time off for going to the polling station.

They state that voters should have four free hours during their working hours to exercise the right to vote, which will be paid.

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Spain sees no risk to EU presidency from July snap election

There is "no risk" that Spain's upcoming European Union presidency will be affected by an early general election in July, Spanish Prime minister Pedro Sánchez said Monday.

Spain sees no risk to EU presidency from July snap election

Sánchez last week dissolved parliament and called a snap election on July 23rd following heavy losses for his Socialist party in local and regional elections on May 28th.

Spain is slated to take over the rotating presidency of the bloc from Sweden on July 1st.

READ ALSO: Who won where in Spain’s regional elections?

Asked if the general election would affect its turn at the helm of the bloc, Sánchez said the goals for this presidency were shared with the other EU member states and the European Commission.

“There is no risk that all the goals which we set before the elections were called will not be met during this presidency,” he said during a joint news conference with his visiting Swedish counterpart Ulf Kristersson.

“Other nations have held elections as well during their presidency and absolutely nothing went wrong,” he added.

Kristersson said he “fully shared” Sánchez’s assessment that there is “no problem at all”.

READ ALSO: Collapse of Spain’s far-left complicates vote for Sánchez

He recalled that Sweden held elections just before its presidency of the bloc while France held presidential elections in April 2022 during its EU presidency.

“Every country is very well suited to handle all the activities at the same time,” Kristersson said.

Sánchez had been scheduled to address the European Parliament’s plenary session on July 13th to outline Madrid’s main policies during the six-month presidency, but he requested it be delayed to September due to the early elections.

That would allow the speech to be delivered by a new Spanish premier in the event that Sánchez is defeated in the election.