UK nationals in Spain can vote if they have been here three years. / SUR

Britons told how to register to vote in 2023 local elections

After Brexit, there are different rules for UK residents in Spain and a new system to follow if they want to choose their councillors next May

SUR IN ENGLISH MALAGA.

There was important clarification this week on the process British residents in Spain have to follow if they want to sign up to vote in local elections in May next year. And there will only be a six-week window to register opening on 1 December .

Before the UK left the EU, British citizens could vote in European and council elections in Spain by filling in an extra form once they were on the town hall census padrón.

    That system does not exist anymore. Instead, the vote is only available to those who have been living in Spain continuously for three years and who reregister to vote in local council elections each time the date - every four years - is approaching, even if they have been registered before. Britons can no longer vote at all in European elections.

    Sources stressed that this does not mean reregistering on the padrón (municipal census) but the separate electoral roll for council elections. The next vote for local councillors is 28 May and the period for British residents to register to vote who have been living in Spain three years or more will run only from 1 December this year to 15 January next year.

    Messages from the UK Embassy on its Brits in Spain Facebook page this week and from some local authorities with high numbers of British residents have explained that a letter to all those eligible to register to vote is being sent out by the Spanish electoral census office (Oficina del Censo Electoral) in the last few days of November and first few days of December. This will set out the process and is being sent to the addresses held on local council's padrons.

    The letter is expected to contain a form to fill in and return by post by 15 January to register or details of registering online. In the event that the letter does not arrive or if a person has questions, the UK embassy has advised Britons to contact their local town hall.

    The embassy said this week, "Thanks to the agreement that was signed between the UK and Spain in 2019, all UK nationals who have been resident here for three years are entitled to vote."

    The statement added that UK nationals must "be registered on the padrón municipal.... and confirm registration on the electoral roll (censo electoral) within the dates set by the electoral authorities before each election".

    The implementation of the new rules is the responsibility of the Spanish authorities and not the UK government or embassy

    Residents from other European countries that remain in the EU have not seen the voting registration system change.

    UK citizens can still stand as local councillors as well if they have been in Spain three years.