Portuguese municipalities launch Operation Vote aimed at expats

Published:  8 Jul at 6 PM
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Operation Vote’s new project has been instigated by local municipalities aimed at galvanising expat residents into registering to vote by 29 July.

The 29 July deadline for registration is just two months before Portugal’s local elections take place and, as in other EU countries, expat residents are allowed to vote. However, this is the first time they have been positively encouraged to do so.

It seems that, in previous elections, the lack of interest shown by expat residents has skewed the results due to the high number of incomers in popular areas of the country. For example, the previous municipal election in Monchique, with its 20 per cent foreign contingent, was decided by a 66-vote difference between the two candidates.

Operation Vote is issuing English language information leaflets and ensuring coverage by the local English language press. According to a report by the European Commission, only 12 per cent of foreign residents in Portugal use their votes, with the new scheme hoping to up the numbers far beyond that figure in the upcoming ballots.

Co-funded by the EC and with no political affiliation, Operation Vote promotes citizens’ primary democratic rights within Italy, Spain, Sweden, Portugal and Austria, and is overseen in Portugal by the Investigation Centre for Social and Human Sciences. Its project is also expected to cover the European elections due next year.
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