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20.02.2013

General Elections 2013, voting by Italian citizens living abroad

A guide to vote for overseas electoral districts constituencies of the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate of the Republic. Voting procedure for the Italians temporarily abroad. How to submit lists and candidatures of the Overseas Constituency

The Italians living abroad who in the next general election are entitled to vote for overseas electoral districts constituencies of the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate of the Republic are almost 3.5 millions. Recent provisional data show that there are 3,438,670 voters living abroad for the Chamber of Deputies and 3,103,887 for the Senate of the Republic, out of a total of 4,345,721 Italians living abroad.

Thanks to the Decree Law No. 223 of December 18th, 2012, converted - with amendments - by Law No. 232 of December 31st, 2012, also certain specific categories of Italian nationals temporarily living abroad for reasons of service or international missions can vote from the place where they stay. The Interior Ministry estimates that the number of Italian citizens temporarily abroad falling within the categories envisaged in the above-mentioned Decree Law No. 223/2012 amounts to about 12,700.

How do Italian citizens living abroad vote?

Italian citizens living abroad will elect six Senators and twelve Deputies within a 'Circoscrizione Estero' (Overseas Constituency for Italians living abroad), which is divided into four geographical areas:

• Europe, Russian Federation and Turkey;
• South America;
• North and Central America;
• Africa, Asia, Oceania and Antarctica.

All citizens who have attained the age of eighteen years are entitled to vote for the Chamber of Deputies.
All citizens who have attained the age of twenty-five are entitled to vote for the Senate of the Republic.

Italian nationals living abroad vote in Italy if:

- they have exercised the option to vote in Italy by the 10th day following the formal announcement of the General Elections (in case of premature dissolution of the Chambers), giving notice to the Consulate of residence;

- they live in States where there are no Italian diplomatic representations or in Countries with which it has not been possible to conclude special agreements in simplified form;

- they live in States where the exercise of the right to vote by mail is not guaranteed due to the political or social situation.

By February 6th, 2013 (i.e. the 18th day before the date of the voting), Consular offices sent a voting package containing ballot papers to citizens residing abroad who vote by mail. Ballot papers provided to each voter can be one or two, depending on whether he/she is over the age of 25, and therefore is eligible to vote also for the Senate.

Voters who have not yet received the voting package containing the ballot papers by the 14th day before the date of the election (i.e. by February 10th, 2013) can make a request to the Consular office.

Voted ballots must be sent to the Consular offices by February 14th, 2013 (10th day prior to the election) and must be received by those offices no later than 4:00 pm (local time) on February 21st, 2013.

Then the responsible personnel of the Consular offices will send - by air and via diplomatic pouch - the envelopes with all ballot papers received from each Consular district to the Central Office for the Overseas Constituency, established at the Court of Appeal in Rome.

The counting of ballots received from abroad will take place simultaneously with the count of the votes cast in the national territory, that is, starting at 15:00 on Monday, February 25th, after the conclusion of the voting in the national polling stations, scheduled for Sunday, February 24th, from 8:00 am to 10:00 pm, and on Monday, February 25th, from 7:00 am to 3:00 pm.

Ballot papers will be of a different colour for each election and for each geographical area of the Overseas Constituency, as follows:

for the Chamber of Deputies:

- Europe, Russian Federation and Turkey: grey;
- South America: brown;
- North and Central America: red;
- Africa, Asia, Oceania and Antarctica: orange;

for the Senate of the Republic:

- Europe, Russian Federation and Turkey: light blue;
- South America: green;
- North and Central America: blue;
- Africa, Asia, Oceania and Antarctica: purple.

Voters cast their vote on the ballot paper, by putting only one mark - with a black or blue pen - on the symbol of the chosen list or, anyway, inside the rectangular space including it and expressing, at most, two preferential votes in the geographical areas to which two or more deputies or senators are assigned (Europe, South America and North America, for the Chamber; Europe and South America, for the Senate) and one preferential vote in the other geographical areas. Preferential votes are cast by writing the surname of the candidate and, possibly, also the name and, where necessary, in the case of homonymous candidates on the same list, by specifying also the date and place of birth in the row next to the symbol of the voted list.

How do Italians living temporarily abroad vote?

There are three categories of Italians who can vote for the Italian elections even if they reside abroad only temporarily: armed forces or police personnel engaged in international missions; civil servants of public administrations who live outside Italy for work reasons and their family members who live with them, but only if the duration of their stay abroad is over six months; university professors and researchers working at universities or research institutes abroad for at least six months, but only if on the date of the call of the meetings they had been living abroad for at least three months.

Citizens entitled to vote by mail: military and police personnel and civil servants must submit an application to their headquarters or to the Administration they belong to, within 35 days of the election date in Italy. In the application they must state: their name, surname (for women also their married surname), the date and place of birth, the sex, the address of residence and domicile abroad and the municipality where they are enrolled in the electoral lists. As to family members, in their application they must also attach a declaration in lieu of an affidavit stating the cohabiting status with the person of the above-mentioned categories.

The headquarters or the Administration will then send to the Consular office the names of those who have requested to vote abroad. Professors and researchers must submit an application following the same procedure of the military personnel, but such an application must be sent directly to their Consulate of residence.

The Consulate will then transmit the list of the names of those who have opted for voting abroad to the municipalities concerned, waiting for municipality’s approval, i.e. a declaration stating there are no obstacles. Subsequently, the district’s electoral committee will cancel the voters who have submitted the application from the lists of its sections in Italy.

The application for voting by mail can also be revoked by means of a declaration signed and dated by the person concerned. Such a declaration must be received by the Consular office within 23 days of the election date, i.e. no later than February 1st, 2013.

In the General Elections 2013, all the Italians temporarily residing abroad - entitled to exercise the right to vote by mail - shall vote for the district of the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate of the Republic to which the municipality of Rome belong, that is for Lazio 1 district (Chamber of Deputies) and for Lazio district (Senate of the Republic).

Submission of lists and candidatures of the Overseas Constituency

Only citizens living abroad and who are eligible to vote in one of the geographical areas into which the 'Overseas Constituency' is divided can submit their candidature for the Chamber of Deputy or the Senate of the Republic.

Italian citizens living abroad who have attained the age of 25 may be elected to the Chamber of Deputies. For being elected to the Senate, they have to be over 40. The lists of candidates, both for the Chamber of Deputies and for the Senate, must be submitted for each of the geographical areas of the 'Overseas Constituency'.

As a rule, political parties and groups must collect signatures in order to submit lists and candidatures. However, the following political parties or groups are dispensed with the collection of the signatures:

- the political parties or groups which have formed a parliamentary group in both the Houses at the beginning of the legislature;
- the political parties or groups which have made a declaration of being connected with at least two political parties or groups forming a parliamentary group in both the Houses at the beginning of the legislature and which have obtained at least one seat in the last European elections with a symbol identical to the one deposited at the General Elections 2013;
- the political parties or groups, representing linguistic minorities, which have obtained at least one seat at the last general elections.

On the occasion of the General Elections 2013, each list requires from a minimum of 125 to a maximum of 1,000 signatures of voters residing in the geographical area.

The signatures of those who have subscribed the lists of candidates for the 'Overseas Constituency' are validated by the Consular offices in the Consular district of the voter’s residence. A candidate can run only for one geographical area.

The lists of candidates must be submitted, with the necessary signatures, to the Records Office of the Court of Appeal of Rome, in the following days and hours:

• Sunday, January 20th, 2013, from 8:00 am to 8:00 pm;
• Monday, January 21st, 2013, from 8:00 am to 8:00 pm.

 





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