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Voting Abroad

Italian citizens living abroad and regularly recorded in the Registry of Italians Residing Abroad (AIRE) may exercise their right to vote abroad in their place of residence for national elections (election of members of the Parliament and the Senate), for the abrogative and constitutional referendums referred to in Articles 75 and 138 of the Constitution and for the election of Italy’s representatives to the European Parliament. Where constituted, citizens may also participate in the election of Committees of Italians Resident Abroad (COMITES). On the other hand, voting abroad is not provided for the election of regional, municipal and provincial councils, nor for local referendums.

Voting abroad for political elections and national referendums is governed by Law No. 459 of December 27, 2001 and its implementing regulations (Presidential Decree No. 104 of April 2, 2003). For political elections Italian citizens vote for the candidates of  the Abroad Constituency, provided for in the Articles 48, 56 and 57 of the Constitution. Citizens residing abroad temporarily for a period of at least three months for work, study or medical treatment are also eligible to vote. In order to vote by absentee ballot, these citizens must submit a special request to their municipality of residence no later than the 32nd day before the polling day in Italy.

While voting abroad for the election of Italy’s representatives to the European Parliament is governed by Law no. 18 of January 24, 1979 and Legislative Decree no. 408 of June 24, 1994 (converted into Law no. 483 of August 3, 1994). Unlike the electoral consultations regulated by Law 459/2001, only the compatriots residing in an EU Member State and recorded in the Registry of Italians Residing Abroad (AIRE) can participate in the elections of the European Parliament (such compatriots may, however, choose to participate in the election of representatives to the European Parliament of their Member State of residence). Also in this case, the compatriots temporarily residing abroad (in an EU Member State) for work or study purposes may vote, subject to a special request made to the diplomatic-consular representation in charge no later than the 80th day before the last day of voting.
Italian voters residing abroad and regularly recorded in the Registry of Italians Residing Abroad (AIRE) may also vote for the election of representatives of COMITES – Committees of Italians Abroad (Law no. 286 of 23 October 2003 and ), provided that they have resided in the consular district for at least six months on the date of the elections and that there are at least three thousand Italians residing in the district (below this threshold the law does not provide for the election of COMITES). In this case, compatriots who are temporarily abroad cannot elect.

Key Additional General Election Laws

  • Law no. 212 of April 4, 1956 – Rules governing electoral propaganda.
  • Presidential Decree No. 361 of March 30, 1957 – Consolidated text of the laws governing the election of Members of Parliament.
  • Presidential Decree No. 223 of March 20, 1967 – Consolidated text of the laws governing the exercise of the active electorate and the maintenance and revision of electoral lists.
  • Law No. 352 of May 25, 1970 – Rules on the referendums provided for by the Constitution and on the people’s legislative initiative.
  • Law No. 515 of December 10, 1993 – Rules and regulations governing electoral campaigns for electing Members of the Republic’s Parliament and Senate.
  • Legislative Decree No. 533 of December 20, 1993 – Consolidated text of the laws containing rules for electing Members of the Republic’s Senate.
  • Law No. 28 of February 22, 2000 – Provisions for equal access to mass media during electoral and referendum campaigns and for political communication.
  • Law No. 62 of April 16, 2002 – Amendments and additions to the legal provisions concerning electoral procedures
  • Law No 61 of March 2, 2004 – Rules and provisions concerning electoral offences.
  • Law No. 270 of December 21, 2005 – Amendments to the rules for the election of Members of of the Republic’s Parliament and Senate.
  • Legislative Decree No. 71 of February 3, 2011 – Order and functions of Consular Offices.

To consult the Italian legislation in force, it is suggested to visit the website: www.normativa.it.