How to vote in the Spanish Municipal Elections

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WITH only 10 days to go until the local elections, the Spanish Voting system remains a mystery to many foreign residents. On Sunday 22 May, elections for both local councils as well as autonomous regional governments will take place all over Spain. There are 8,112 municipalities involved in the process. As a non-Spanish voter, you are entitled to vote for those who will represent you in your local town hall, provided that you are registered on the municipal census (padrón) and on the voting register.

On May 22, local schools and certain municipal premises will be converted into polling stations and will be open to voters from 9am through to 8pm.

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Each political party presents a list of their candidates. The list will include the same number of candidates as there are seats on the local council, with three ‘spares’. The voting slip for municipal elections is the WHITE voting slip. This slip is the only one that a non-Spanish voter is entitled to use.

The pink coloured slips are for the regional elections in which only Spanish nationals can vote. Generally, the first name on the municipal (WHITE) list will become Mayor of the town should that particular political party win the most seats.

You will need to take with you a recognised official form of photographic identity, for example a passport, driving licence, residents’ or national identity card. For residents that now have the A4 Residents form and have surrendered their old residents card, this is without any photo ID and so you will need to bring your passport with you to the voting station


Once in the polling station you will find a table on which you will find piles of voting slips, one for each political party.

Ensure you only pick up the voting slip for the party you wish to vote for. Study the slip to ensure it is the correct party. Probably, you will already have decided and will recognise the name, initial, and ‘logo’.

Do not mark the voting slip in any way at all. The placing of a cross or any other mark on the paper will result in your vote becoming VOID!


Place the unmarked, slip in the white envelope provided. You will find a pile of envelopes next to the voting slips.

Report to the voting desk and produce your identity document – your name will be checked to ensure that it is included in the voters register for that particular polling station.

When you are told to do so, PLACE THE ENVELOPE containing your UNMARKED voting slip, into the transparent urn on the presidential table.

You have now cast your vote. Simple as that.

In essence, take your ID with you to the Polling Sation, pick up the White form for the party you wish to vote for, place in the white envelope and drop it in the box. Don’t write anything on the voting form. Done and dusted.

During the run up to the election, you may well receive, either through the post or given to you by one of the local political parties, an envelope containing a voting slip. MAKE SURE that the slip is for the POLITICAL PARTY that you wish to vote for. If this is the case, you only need to take your envelope and slip along to the polling station on the day. Ensure that neither the voting slip, nor the envelope are marked in any way.

Only unmarked voting papers will be acceptable at the final count!

By Keith Nichol


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