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Electoral services

Italian citizens living abroad and regularly registered with AIRE may exercise their right to vote abroad in their place of residence for national elections, for abrogative and constitutional referendums under Articles 75 and 138 of the Constitution and for European Parliament elections. Voting abroad for national elections and referendums is governed by Law No. 459 of December 27, 2001 and its implementing regulations (Presidential Decree No. 104 of April 2, 2003), implementing Articles 48, 56 and 57 of the Constitution, which established the Overseas Constituency. Law No. 52 of May 6, 2015 (the so-called “Italicum”) laid down that citizens temporarily abroad for a period of at least three months for work, study or medical treatment may also request their Municipality to vote abroad by correspondence. The provision will take effect for the election of the Chamber of Deputies as from July 1, 2016, while it is immediately effective for any referendum held after the entry into force of the Law (May 23, 2015).

Voting abroad for the election of Italian representatives to the European Parliament is instead regulated by Law No. 18 of January 24, 1979 and by Decree-Law No. 408 of June 24, 1994 (converted into Law No. 483 of August 3, 1994).

Italian voters living abroad and duly registered with AIRE may also vote for the election of the representatives of COMITES – Committees of Italians Abroad (Law No. 286 of October 23, 2003).

For more information on norms and laws.

Political Elections

Italians residing abroad have a right to vote for the election of the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate of the Republic, as well as for the Referenda.

During political elections, electors vote to elect 12 Deputies and 6 Senators.

The Overseas Constituency is divided in 4 geographical regions: a) Europe; b) South America; c) North and Central America; d) Africa, Asia, Oceania and Antarctica.

Electors vote for the lists presented in the geographical region where they reside. In each region one Deputy and one Senator are elected, whereas the remaining seats are distributed among the regions in proportion to the number of residents.

All Italians residing abroad who are 18 years of age (for the election of the Chamber of Deputy) and 25 years of age (for the Senate), who are in the electoral lists which will be compiled on the basis of an updated list of Italians residing abroad (the latter being the result of a merge between the Register of Italians residing abroad of the various “comuni” – town halls – and the Consular Registers), have a right to vote.

To help update data, Law 459 states that electors must provide the relevant consular office with updated personal details.

The candidates in the electoral lists presented in each geographical region must be residents and electors of that region.

Italians residing abroad may vote by post. No later than 18 days prior to election day, the consular office sends all electors an electoral pack with the electoral certificate, the ballot paper(s) with a smaller envelope in which to put them, as well as a large stamped envelope with the address of the consular office, the lists of candidates, an information sheet on how to vote, and the text of law 459/2001. Electors must send the voted ballot paper(s) to the consular office no later than 10 days from the election date. The consular office will then send the ballot papers to Italy, so that the counting of votes cast abroad may take place at the same time as that of votes cast in Italy.

Electors who 14 days before election day have not received the electoral pack can apply for one by going to the consular office in person.

Diplomatic missions sign agreements with the Governments of the countries where Italian nationals reside so as to guarantee that postal voting may be possible in an equal, free and secret manner, and that this does not jeopardise their job or their right to vote. Italians residing in a country with which no agreement was signed may vote only by returning to Italy.

Moreover, the electoral campaign will be run in compliance with specific types of co-operation with the governments. Unlike in the case of the above agreements, failure to set up the campaign won’t prejudice electors in voting by post.

Italians residing abroad are not under the obligation to vote by poar. Law 459 states that electors can opt to vote in Italy, for which they need to return to the national territory and vote for the candidates who run in the constituency relating to the national electoral section in which he is registered.

Electors who intend to return to Italy to vote will have to inform their consular office in writing no later than 31st December of the year prior to the natural end of the legislative period, or in case of an early dissolution of the Houses, within 10 days of calling elections. The option is valid only for one election or referendum.

No refund of travel expenses incurred by electors who have opted to vote in Italy is expected.

Voting in Italy is the only choice for Italians residing in countries with which it was not possible to finalise the above agreements, as well as for those residing in countries whose political and social situation does not guarantee, even temporarily, compliance with the conditions on which such agreements are based. In these cases, and also for electors who reside in countries where there is no Italian mission, electors are entitled to a 75% refund of the travel expenses incurred to return to Italy. To this end, electors will have to make a specific application at the relevant Consular office, enclosing their electoral certificate and ticket.

Com.It.Es (Committees of Italians Abroad) Elections

COMITES (COMitati degli ITaliani all’EStero – Committees of Italians Abroad) Elections

Members of COMITES are elected on the basis of lists of candidates signed by Italians residing in each consular district.

Italians over 18 residing abroad registered in the electoral lists may vote by post (according to the system laid down by Law 459 of 2001), without having to go personally to the polling station, as was the case in the past.

To allow voters to vote by post, the consular office will send them, by the deadlines laid down by law, an electoral pack containing electoral material and an information sheet explaining how to vote.

Voters cast their vote making sure they follow the instructions carefully, they then post their ballot paper to the consular office using the prepaid envelope provided. The envelope has to be sent immediately.

For more information and Regulatory references



Information on the protection of personal data

Please read the information on the protection of personal data regarding consular services, pursuant to the General Data Protection Regulation (EU) 2016/679:

Services Consular