LAW NO 459/2001
ON THE RIGHT OF ITAIAN CITIZENS RESIDENT ABROAD
TO VOTE IN ITALIAN NATIONAL ELECTIONS AND REFERENDA

 

1. What is the purpose of the vote?

Italian citizens residing abroad have the right to vote to elect Members of the Chamber of Deputies and of the Senate of the Italian Parliament. They also have the right to vote when popular referenda for the abrogation or confirmation of existing laws are held.
In the case of political elections, voters will elect 12 Deputies and 6 Senators for the “Circoscrizione Estero” .
The Circoscrizione Estero is subdivided into 4 geographical groups: a) Europe; b) South America; c) Northern and Central America; d) Africa, Asia, Oceania and Antarctica.
Voters will cast their votes for the candidates appearing on the lists presented in their respective geographical group. For each group one Deputy and one Senator will be elected. The remaining seats will be distributed among the geographical groups in proportion to the number of residents.

2. Who is eligible to vote?

Italian citizens resident abroad aged 18 or over may vote to elect members of the Chamber of Deputies; those aged 25 or over may vote to elect also members of the Senate. Only electors listed in the Registers of Electors are eligible to vote.
The Registers of Electors will be compiled according to updated records based on local AIREs and Consular data.
To ensure the accurate updating of electoral records, Law 459 requires electors to return to the Consular Office the form Modulo Anagrafico, herewith enclosed with a pre-stamped envelope, within 30 days of receipt. The form, which contains personal data and is already compiled by the Consular Office, once checked, must be returned to that office even if there has been no change in personal circumstances.

3. Who is eligible for candidature?

The candidates appearing on the electoral lists presented by each geographical group must be both resident and electors of that group.

4. What is the process for casting votes?

Italian citizens residing abroad can cast their votes by post.
Within 18 days of the date of the election, the Consular Office will send to all electors an "electoral pack" containing: the electoral certificate; the ballot paper or ballot papers and related envelope; a larger, pre-stamped, envelope containing the address of the Consular Office; the list of candidates; an explanatory sheet on voting modalities; the text of Law 459/2001.
Electors must return the ballot papers to the Consular Office in the appropriate envelope not later than 10 days prior to the election date. The Consular Office will send the ballot papers to Italy immediately to ensure that counting can take place in conjunction with that of votes cast within the national territory.
Electors who have not received the "electoral pack" within 14 days before the election can collect it in person at the Consular Office.

5. How are elections held?
 
Diplomatic Missions have stipulated agreements with the Governments of the States where Italian citizens reside in order to guarantee that the postal voting is exercised in conditions of equality, freedom and secrecy, without any prejudice whatsoever for electors' employment rights and any other right. Italian citizens residing in countries where such agreements could not be stipulated, will be able to exercise their right to vote only by traveling to Italy.
Election campaigns will be conducted according to specific forms of co-operation previously agreed with foreign governments. However, the absence of such forms of co-operation will not prevent the casting of the postal vote.

6. The option to vote in Italy.

Italian citizens residing abroad are not compelled to cast their vote by post. Law 459 foresees that electors have the option to vote in Italy if they so wish, by travelling to the national territory and by voting for the candidates of the constituency in which they are registered in Italy.
Electors wishing to return to Italy to cast their vote must notify the competent Consular Office of their intention in writing by the 31st of December of the year before the natural expiry of the legislature or, in the case of earlier dissolution of Parliament, within 10 days of the calling of the election. The option will remain valid for a single election or referendum.
Enclosed with this letter is the Option Form with which electors can, as of now and within 60 days of receipt, notify the Consular Office of their wish to vote in Italy. The option will be valid for the next election/referendum only.
It must be noted that receipt of the present communication and the sending of the option form will not constitute recognition of the right of vote on the part of the sender. Eligibility to vote will subsequently be verified by the Italian authorities.
There will be no reimbursement of traveling expenses incurred by electors opting to vote in Italy.
Voting in Italy will remain compulsory for Italian citizens residing in those countries where it has not been possible to stipulate governmental agreements as per item 5 above, as well as for those residing in countries whose political-social situation does not guarantee, even temporarily, respect of the conditions contained in the agreements. In such cases, and for those electors residing in countries where no Italian Diplomatic representation is available, up to 75% of traveling expenses for the journey to Italy will be reimbursed. To this end electors will need to apply to their Consular Offices, enclosing the electoral certificate and traveling documents.

PRIVATEOPTION FORM

(to be sent to the Consular Office within 60 days from the receipt of the present communication)
The undersigned____________________________________________
Place of birth _____________________ Date of birth _____________
resident in________________________________ registered in the AIRE of the town of ___________________________
or already a resident of the town of ___________________________
hereby informs the Italian State authorities of his/her intention to exercise the right to vote in Italy on the occasion of the next election or referendum.

Place and date                                                Signature