Home Society How to vote in the EU election as a Brussels expat
How to vote in the EU election as a Brussels expat

How to vote in the EU election as a Brussels expat

by host

Are you an expat living in Brussels and wanting to vote in the European Parliament election on June 9, but don’t know how — or even whether you can? Worry not, POLITICO has got you covered with answers to some of the big questions. And don’t forget, there’s a Belgian election on the same day as the EU one (here’s our guide to Belgian politics)!

Can I (an EU citizen) vote in the European election in Belgium?

Yes, but there are conditions. You need to have your main residence in a Belgian municipality, and you need to register before March 31. You don’t need to have permanent residence. The registration can be done either online (via the digital ID scheme itsme or using a card reader) or by filling out a form in person at your local city hall. If your application is approved, you will receive an official letter. Here’s a handy video explainer.

Is voting in the EU election mandatory in Belgium?

Yes. All Belgians above legal age are legally required to participate in all types of elections. If your application for voting in the EU election is approved, you will have to abide by the same rules as Belgians. If you fail to show up, you risk a fine (although this is not diligently enforced).

I registered for the last EU election, do I need to register again?

No. If you applied to be on the electoral roll in the past (for example, ahead of the 2019 EU election) and your application was approved, you are automatically registered as a voter for all European elections in the future.

Can I vote in Brussels and then head to my home country and vote there?

No. When you register as a voter for the EU election in Belgium, you lose the chance of voting in another EU country. So if you ever leave Belgium, you must remember to withdraw your registration before going.

My application has been approved, what do I do now?

Congratulations! Unless you’re already a Belgian politics buff, you now have about two months to decide who you want to vote for. Voters in Belgium will elect 22 MEPs in 2024, and you can only vote for one party on the list.

EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT ELECTION POLL OF POLLS

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For more polling data from across Europe visit POLITICO Poll of Polls.

Where can I vote?

Each municipality should have at least one polling station. You can find the list here.

How do I cast my vote?

You can vote in two different ways. If you agree with the order of the list of your chosen party, simply vote in the box at the top of the list (this is called a block-list vote). If you would like to change the order of candidates, vote in the box located next to the name of one or more candidates (this is called a preference vote). Be careful: if you vote in any other way, your vote won’t be valid.

Who can I vote for?

The deadline for registration of political parties or individuals is 57 days before election day.  The parties you can vote for will be published here after the deadline.

Can I vote electronically?

Technically, yes: but it might not mean what you think. You still have to go to the municipality and vote using a computer behind a curtain. Once you’ve made your decision, the voting machine will print out a QR code that you will give to the voting administrator. You can check the website to see whether your municipality allows e-voting, but all of them are supposed to allow it. The City of Brussels will organize electronic voting demonstration sessions in May.

Can someone else vote for me?

Yes, Belgium allows voting by proxy, which can be useful if you are studying abroad, are ill or are disabled. But there are conditions to be fulfilled — for example, a proxy for an EU citizen can only be a Belgian citizen. More info.

The website brussels.commissioner has published a FAQ with further questions you might have about the elections.

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