All Italian citizens over the age of 18 are eligible to vote in the upcoming general election, scheduled for Sunday, September 25th.
However, while Italian residents will be required to cast their vote at their local polling station (i.e. the one located in their municipality of residence, or comune) on the above-mentioned date, Italians living abroad will have the opportunity to vote by post in line with the conditions and deadlines set by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Ministero degli Esteri).
So what are these conditions and deadlines?
First of all, in the case of Italian citizens permanently residing abroad (i.e. for a period of at least 12 months), the option to vote by post is only granted to those registered with AIRE (Anagrafe degli Italiani residenti all’estero), the register containing the personal data of all Italians living in a foreign country.
Registering with AIRE is free of charge and it can be done through the online ministerial portal available at this link or in person at the relevant Italian consulate.
Those who are not registered with AIRE but expect to reside abroad for a period of at least three months – the election date must fall within this period of time – are also given the opportunity to vote by post.
However, in this case, citizens are required to communicate that they wish to vote by post through the following form, which must be filled out and sent to the relevant Italian comune via post, email or proxy.
For this year’s elections, all forms had to be received by the relevant comune by August 24th.
Those who managed to have the form delivered by the above deadline and those correctly registered with AIRE should receive their ballot papers (usually, a pink one for the Chamber of Deputies and yellow one for the Senate) through the mail at their registered foreign address.
The papers will come in an envelope (plico elettorale) including instructions on how to return the ballots to the relevant consulate.
All voters should receive their ballots by September 11th.
If, come September 12th, you have not received your plico yet, you should be able to ask for a duplicate by getting in touch with the Italian consulate of your country of residence.
In the past, some individual consulates organised special collection times for anyone who had not yet received their ballot papers. Please check with your consulate to find out whether arrangements of this kind have been (or will be) made in your country of residence.
Once votes have been cast, voters are responsible for ensuring that their completed ballots are received by their consulate by 4pm local time on Thursday, September 22nd at the latest.
Ballot papers received after the above deadline will not be accepted as consulates will officially start sending the ballots to Italy for counting (scrutinio).
Find all the latest news on Italy’s election race here.