Blogs in this series

Life in Culebrón is personal view of Spain and Spanish life as seen by a Briton living in a small village in Alicante province.
The other tabs link to similar blogs when I have lived in other places. The TIM magazine is an English language magazine I write articles for.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Polling Stations

I'm not sure and I can't find the details on the Internet but I'm more or less certain that every polling station notice I've ever seen in the UK has had the same print style - a heavy sans serif font. When we went to vote in Pinoso this morning I don't think there was any sort of notice ouside the polling station.

We were only allowed to vote in the local, town hall, elections. We EU residents are disenfranchised at provincial level.

Voting day is Sunday, not Thursday as in the UK. Ahh, yes, that's why we voted today!

Spanish polling stations open from 9am to 8pm. In the UK I think normal hours are 7am to 10pm.

In Spanish elections it is necessary to produce photographic proof of identity. In our case that meant our passport.

In Spain the candidates stroll back and forth between the various polling stations saying hello to people. At the table where your eligibility to vote is checked and where you deposit your ballot there are three polling station staff. There are lots of other people sitting at adjoining tables. I understand they are party sympathisers scrutinizing a fair vote. I thought that this was different to the UK where I have never seen any party sympathisers inside the station. Apparently though  UK candidates and agents can visit polling stations too so long as they don't try to canvass.

In the UK the vote is for a named individual by making a mark on a voting slip. In Spain, where there is a proportional representation system, each party puts forward sufficient candidates to cover all of the seats available within the given constituency. Depending on the percentage of the vote the party captures a corresponding number of their candidates are elected. The top of the list first, the second next and so on. Voters do not mark the paper in any way they simply select the list for their chosen party, pop it inside an envelope and then put the envelope in the ballot box.

I'm not sure they would have let me take the picture in a UK polling station either. Then again I've never thought to ask.

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