How to vote from abroad

I always wondered how to vote from abroad and how to register for that. Last week I had a my chance to find out.

How to vote from abroad

Last Sunday and today are election days in Italy. Actually, we are talking about primary elections for one of the three major coalitions.

While I’m not a member nor a supporter of any of the parties involved in that particular coalition, for reasons I’m not going to explain here (patriotic reasons), I decided to take part to this “event”.

The guy who will be winner of this primary will be candidate for Prime Minister, which is the most powerful post.

Another important coalition was going to call a primary to choose its candidate, but now they seem having changed their mind (You think it’s funny? The right word is “tragicomic”. But what would you expect from people like that).

I’m Italian, but I live in Switzerland. Here is the story of how I could vote for primary elections from abroad.

I had no idea about how to do that, therefore I googled “how to vote abroad for the primary” in Italian. I got several search results, I clicked on the first one and I had luck. I found a long list of places where it was possible to vote. I chose the closest to home (I still have no idea whether it was the only place where I could do it, or I could have voted anywhere else).

The place I chose is an Italian high school in Zurich (those shools are found worldwide). Being inside that building gave me the exact same feeling that it gave to me stepping into the Italian consulate months earlier: crossing the main door was like being beamed to Italy in the blink of an eye with Mr. Scott at the controls.

Teleportation to Italy

As I tweeted one week ago, people were speaking loud (which seldom happens when you are surrounded by Swiss people), there was some trouble understanding who was in line and who was not, and the building interiors needed some renovation. All things to which I’m not very used any more here in Switzerland. I was definitely in Italy.

But it was good; it was like visiting my home-country without even having to travel. I was very happy about that.

The voting procedure went as follows: they took my ID and registered me. I had to sign in order to declare myself a supporter of the coalition, and they kindly asked me to pay 2 Swiss francs. Then I was given the ballot which listed 5 names.

I moved to another room, stepped behind a drape, made a cross on the name of the candidate I had chosen, folded the ballot and inserted it into the box. And that was it.

I walked out of the main door and abruptly found myself back into Switzerland.

All this has been an important experience for me. It gave me the opportunity to take part to public life of my own country while not being physically there.

I really would like to hear from you how you can vote for your own country from abroad. Is it possible? How does it work? Did it ever happen to you?

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