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Only 13,462 foreign EU residents are registered to vote on October 1st

farocamaraFor the October 1st municipal elections, there are 9,396,680 registered Portuguese voters, fewer than in the September 2013 elections when over 9.5 million could vote.

The lower overall figure is due mainly to the hundreds of thousands of Portuguese citizens having left the country during the years of recession, most of whom have not come back.


According Diário da República today, the latest voter registration data shows that in addition to 9,369,574 registered nationals, 13,462 foreign EU residents and 13,644 ‘other foreign’ citizens residing in Portugal have the right to cast their vote for those they wish to see in charge of their Parish Councils, Municipal Assemblies and Municipal Councils.

In the 2013 municipal elections, 9,501,103 voters were registered but a little more than half of these bothered to vote - a lamentable turnout rate of 47,40%.

According to the list of foreign nationalities published in May by the Ministries of Internal Administration and Foreign Affairs, in addition to European Community citizens, residents born in Brazil, Cape Verde, Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Iceland, Norway, New Zealand, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela can cast their votes on October 1st.

Foreign nationals included in this 'reciprocity list' - where Portuguese residents have voting rights in foreign countries - have to live legally in Portugal for more than three years. Brazilians and Cape Verdeans need to have legal residence more than two years before they can vote.

Registration is automatic if voters go to their local Parish Councils to have their residency permits validated.

Those wanting to vote need to take their residency document, passport and a proof of address to their Parish Council at least 60 days before an election. This is free and you can register anytime up to 60 days before an election. The staff should issue a voter’s card, but applicants are advised to ask for a voter’s registration number in case they have to wait for 'something through the post.'

For those checking that they are still on the electoral register, the staff will print out a confirmation sheet (A4) which should be taken along with Residencia and passport on the day of the local elections.

The number of foreigners living in Portugal who hold residency cards and thus are eligible to vote, is far in excess of the number of foreigners that actually have registered to vote.

In previous local elections, some councils have been won by narrow margins and, as foreigners live and pay local taxes here, it has been an enduring mystery why many have no interest in electing those empowered to raise taxes and to run local services.

Pointing out that it is ‘pointless complaining unless you have a vote,’ may be annoying but it is true.


+2 #3 dw 2017-07-18 12:59
Quoting Charly:
It's understandable as foreign (residents) don't want to be involved and mixed up with the middle ages politics and their scandalous corruption and political games...

That's presumably why they left the UK.
+4 #2 SueF 2017-07-18 07:19
Isn't that exactly why we need to vote, to get the change we want? If only those with vested interests vote then nothing will change but in our municipality even the Portuguese are fed up with the state of governance and we currently have the youngest President de Câmara in Portugal at 27 years of age. I utterly agree with Ed that those who don't vote shouldn't complain.
-5 #1 Charly 2017-07-17 18:54
It's understandable as foreign (residents) don't want to be involved and mixed up with the middle ages politics and their scandalous corruption and political games...