When we first came to Pinoso we put our names down on the "padron" - nearly everyone does. The padron is a sort of local authority register, it's an essential piece of paper for sorting out lots and lots of things like healthcare, vehicle registration etc.
At the same time I made sure that we registerd to vote. UK citizens can vote in local but not National or European elections here. I maintain the right to both a National and European vote in the UK.
I knew that the two processes of padron and voter registration were separate but the woman at the Town Hall who dealt with me didn't seem certain about the process for registering voters even though she found a form from somewhere for me to fill in.
Local elections here are coming up in May so I thought it was about time to check that my right to vote was secure. If I weren't on the list then there should still be time to sort it out.
When I got to the Town Hall the woman was a bit brusque. "None of you English are registered to vote" she said, "I have a stack of forms here but none of you ever bothers. You just live in your own little World - blah, blah". I made it pretty clear that I had filled in a form and I wasn't that keen on hearing her diatribe about Brits and their habits. What I needed was her to check if I was registered.
She checked; I was registered.
We both calmed down a bit and I was happy to agree with her that it's a dreadful thing that most Brits seem so apathetic about their right to vote - after all I had the moral high ground here.
None the less she does have a point. It's not a tricky process to register to vote and it is an obvious way to participate in a community. And, of course, a minority that votes has much more sway with local politicians than a minority that spends money in bars and restaurants.