This article is written in conjunction with the IEU Law Society.
By Victoria Luque
The upcoming 2024 European Parliament elections provide IE students with an important opportunity to help shape the future of the European Union. As EU citizens, we have both legal right and civic responsibility to vote in EU elections and make our voices heard. This article will explain the key regulations and requirements around voting rights for IE students, so you can confidently exercise yours!
There exists a consensus as to the importance of voting in such elections. Seventy-one percent of citizens now acknowledge the tangible impact the EU has on their daily lives, this being further mirrored in the surge of interest in the upcoming European elections, with 56% of citizens showing keenness. The European Parliament President Roberta Metsola further reiterated the importance of voting in EU elections in her speech, stating it is not just about choosing representatives but also about holding close the values one holds dear.
The legal basis for voting rights in EU elections is found in Article 14 of the Treaty on European Union, Art. 39 of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights and more specifically in Article 22 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. The latter provision guarantees that all EU citizens can vote and run as candidates in European Parliament elections in their country of residence, under equal conditions as national citizens there. So as an IE student with EU citizenship, despite not residing in your home country, you have the same voting rights in Spain as Spanish citizens.
In order to exercise your right to vote in EU elections, there are a few key requirements you need to meet. You must be an EU citizen aged 18 years old or older on the day of the election and be registered on the electoral roll.
Perhaps most critically, you must ensure you register to vote before the deadline in your country of residence. Every EU member state sets up their own system and deadlines for voter registration. As per the press release of October 27, 2023 by the National Statistics Institute, this deadline to register to vote in Spain ends on January 30, 2024.
Further, always be sure to register using your home address in your country of residence, even if you are on exchange. Also, have valid identification such as a passport, national ID card, or student ID available when registering. Don’t let the registration deadline sneak up on you – mark it in your calendar well in advance so you can confirm your eligibility to vote.
Who Should You Vote For?
Understanding the electoral landscape is crucial. Begin by familiarising yourself with the parties, candidates, and key issues. Dedicate time to read party manifestos, watch debates, and engage in discussions. Resources like the Consilium website offer a detailed look into the EU’s voting system, and ECES provides comprehensive voter education resources. Dive into the resources, ask questions, and shape the EU’s future confidently.
Engaging in the democratic process allows us to influence policies that directly impact our education and career opportunities. Voting is not just a right, but a responsibility. So, stand up, be counted, and contribute!
Featured image courtesy of Unsplash.com