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Expats: Your Time to Register is Up (Almost!)

by nanne Fri Apr 24th, 2009 at 08:43:10 AM EST

 EUROPEAN ELECTIONS 

What is European about these elections? That's a question the newropeans party has already asked here on the European Tribune. It's a hard one to answer, but certainly, the fact that as an EU citizen, you can vote in any EU country you live in is a major European element of the elections.

Of course you do have to register to vote. And the deadline for that is different, everywhere.

For instance, I will be voting in Germany as I blissfully let the deadline for voting in the Netherlands expire. The municipality of The Hague would have required my form by last Wednesday. Not that the Dutch government goes to any trouble to contact me here in Berlin, or to contact any other expats, anywhere. They have put up a site (nl) on the internets that you can find if you look for it, and have otherwise determined that contacting expats is not cost-efficient. Even though the value of a vote apparently is 3700 Euros in the Netherlands (that being the maximum penalty you pay for voting in multiple EU states).

Fortunately, I should be able to vote in Germany. The deadline for registering here is May 17th. And the electoral official was kind enough to send me a letter with the information, including the fact that I should not have to register again, as I already voted in Germany in the 2004 European elections.

For any other internal European expats, your deadlines for registering in your country of residence can be found on the milkshaker.eu website of the European Journalism Centre. There is still (very short!) time if you live in the Czech Republic (up to Sunday), Denmark, Estonia, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden and the UK.


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The MEP I voted for in the 2004 EP elections was the worst of all German MEPs according to a site that was up briefly yesterday but was then closed. See Kosmopolito on Twitter and Jean Quatremery (fr) for more

Linda Margaret has determined that the cost of Citizenship of the EU is around 10,000 euros. A lot more expensive than just voting multiple times...

The newropeans have made it (de) to the list in Germany. They asked me for some help but then were a bit pushy, all the same, I am glad they are taking part in the election.

by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Fri Apr 24th, 2009 at 08:51:19 AM EST
What safeguards are there against people registering and voting in multiple EU countries?

What would be your view of forcing a degree of EU political integration by requiring any party which wishes to be registered as such for the purposes of the EP election to be registered in at least 3 member states?  We might then get (slightly) away from having 27 national elections fought largely on national issues and entirely on (differing) local election rules and systems.

notes from no w here

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Apr 24th, 2009 at 11:44:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Frank Schnittger:
What would be your view of forcing a degree of EU political integration by requiring any party which wishes to be registered as such for the purposes of the EP election to be registered in at least 3 member states?
Would you require Irish parties wishing to run for the Dáil to register in at least 3 constituencies? How about small regional parties? How about independents?

Most economists teach a theoretical framework that has been shown to be fundamentally useless. -- James K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Apr 24th, 2009 at 11:47:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Irish political parties register at a national, not a local level, regardless of their presence or absence in various constituencies.  You could require a party to run a candidate in more than one constituency, but they generally do in any case. As a candidate can run as an independent in any case, party membership doesn't confer anything other than an organisational benefit in any case.  (Independents can form an ad hoc technical group in the Dail to get additional parliamentary rights/back-up staff etc.)

I'm not suggesting any restrictions on independents/small regional parties in national elections - just for the EP election to focus the campaigns on transnational issues.  It need not be a legislative bar - perhaps just some public funding for cross-national parties/campaigns.  I'm tossing this out as an idea - I'm not entirely sure whether it is a good one or not.

notes from no w here

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Apr 24th, 2009 at 12:39:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There is already a similar but more lax system in place for 'European parties' as far as I understand, which is linked to financial support (cf. the failed Libertas effort to register as a European party).

Otherwise I do think that setting it as a hard requirement makes the elections too hard to enter for new parties. I'd think it would be good to switch the entire elections to a mixed member proportional system as it exists in Germany, but with a lower threshold. That's just a dream.

by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Sat Apr 25th, 2009 at 05:50:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'd like to see an additional member system introduced in Spain. Fat chance of that.

Most economists teach a theoretical framework that has been shown to be fundamentally useless. -- James K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Apr 25th, 2009 at 06:48:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What safeguards are there against people registering and voting in multiple EU countries?

It's illegal. I don't know what the monitoring system is.
by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Sat Apr 25th, 2009 at 05:44:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Given that it is hard enough to motivate people to vote once, I doubt there are many who would bother travelling and voting several times!

Nevertheless, for these to be considered truly European elections, you would expect their to be a European voter registration process which controls for duplicates and allows people to transfer from one country to another if they move residence, or even to vote in their home country election whist temporarily abroad in another member state.  (I don't mean just a postal vote, but physically voting in one country and having that vote counted in another (their home) country.

Ultimately an internet based voting system might be best, but how you would do that without very intrusive security measures would be important.  Perhaps a passport reader attached to a secure networked PC would be the answer.

notes from no w here

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat Apr 25th, 2009 at 07:54:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If there are other people living in a 'Member State' other than their own EU country, I'm curious about your experience.
by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Fri Apr 24th, 2009 at 08:54:11 AM EST
I was going to vote in the UK, then I moved back to Spain...

Most economists teach a theoretical framework that has been shown to be fundamentally useless. -- James K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Apr 24th, 2009 at 11:47:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
lots of taxation without representation on a national level here as well.

Have been voting in all EU and local elections as well as the Bundestag since moving to UK in '97.

I am getting post from the electoral office, but I knew to register (as it helps with your credit rating). The electoral board is always on my list of address to notify, when I move living quarters.

Bundestag voting is strange though as I am voting in the place I last lived in '91. even before I left G.

by PeWi on Sat Apr 25th, 2009 at 04:43:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What surprises me though, is that:
according to:
http://www.europarl.europa.eu/elections2009/countries/electoral_laws/united_kingdom.htm?language=EN

Right to vote:
All UK, EU and Commonwealth citizens aged 18 or over whose names appear on the electoral roll and who are in full possession of their voting rights in their state of origin are eligible to vote (provided they do not also vote in the election of their home Member State). In contrast to national elections, Members of the House of Lords are allowed to vote in EP elections. UK citizens living abroad and members of the armed forces must make a declaration of eligibility in order to vote.

Does that mean Canadians (not that I have anything against them) or Australians (ditto) could vote in an EU election?

by PeWi on Sat Apr 25th, 2009 at 04:49:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I guess so? But they would have to live in the UK.
by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Sat Apr 25th, 2009 at 05:42:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Lords voting for commoners?  Whatever next!

notes from no w here
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat Apr 25th, 2009 at 07:57:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]


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