Register to Vote – Local Elections 29th September

This Autumn the “Presidente da Câmara” “and “Presidente da Junta” in all town halls and parishes all over the country are up for election on 29th September.

Foreigners from EU countries and those from Argentine, Uruguay, Israel, Norway & Peru and the Portuguese speaking countries, who are resident in Portugal and have held a Residência card for 2 years, can register to vote at their local Junta de Freguesia.

Whilst most expatriates are not eligible to vote in the National elections in Portugal, they can vote in their local elections once they have qualified.  Eligible expatriates are encouraged to take the simple step of going to their local Junta de Freguesia and registering to vote.  Even by doing only this, you will make the authorities aware that they have expatriates in their area who are potential voters!.

The minimum voting age is 18 years, but 17 year olds may register to enable them to vote as soon as they turn 18.

How to register?

The registration process is very simple and costs nothing.  First-time registration can be made at anytime at the offices of your local Parish Council (Junta de Freguesia) up to 60 days before elections take place.  To register, just take along your valid Portuguese Residence Card (Cartão de Residência) or your Passport.  You will be required to fill in a registration form (Verbete de Inscrição).  The staff will then provide you with a Voter’s Card (Cartão de Eleitor), which shows your name, voter’s number and constituency.

Once you are registered there is normally no need to re-register unless you move to a different parish (freguesia).  In which case you will need to transfer your registration by going to your new “Junta de Freguesia”, complete a transfer form (Impresso de Transferência) and inform them of your change of address.  You should also give them your previous voter’s card which they will then retain and issue you with a new one.

How to check your registration?

You can check your registration every June (between 11th and 25th) at your Parish Council Office.   If there is an error in the registration record (Cadernos Eleitorais), you must make a written complaint to the Constituency Registration Commission (Comissão Recenseadora).

Lost your card?

If you misplace your Voter’s Card go to your local Parish Council Office with your valid Portuguese Residencia card and ask for a replacement.  They can provide it on the spot.  If you know your voter’s registration number the process will be quicker.

How to vote.

On voting day you may cast your vote between 9am and 7pm.  You will need to go to the voting hall (assembleia de voto) with your Identity Card/Residencia (or other Portuguese document with a photograph) and your Voter’s Card (Cartão de Eleitor).  If you have lost your Voting Card it is still possible to vote.

At the voting hall look for the signs telling you which Voting Table (Mesa de Voto) to use.  Each table deals with a range of voters’ numbers.  Normally one table is reserved for foreign residents.

At the table show your valid Residência card, hand-over your Voter’s Card and you will receive the Voting Form (Boletim de Voto).  There is a curtained chamber where you fill in the Voting Form.   Indicate your chosen candidate or Political Party by putting a cross in the box alongside the name.   Fold the Voting Form in two, with the written part hidden inside, go back to the Voting Table and place your folded Voting Form in the sealed box (urna).  The scrutineers will mark in the Voting Register that you have voted and return your Voting Card.

 

This information has been compiled by afpop, the largest Association for foreign residents in Portugal.  Fuller information is available to Members.  afpop can be contacted at their office in Portimão: Urb Quinta do Morais, Poço Fojo Lote 6, Loja c, Apartado 728, 8501-917 Portimão.  Tel: 00351 282 458 509.  E-mail:info@afpop.com.  Web site: www.afpop.com

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