March 4, 2018, Italian general election. Update on voting instructions for Italians living abroad


Citizens who will be voting In Italy will express their vote in accordance with Law November 3, 2017, no.165, a.k.a. “Rosatellum bis or Rosatellum”, which has a combination of a uninominal majority component and a plurinominal proportional component. This system does not allow votes of preference.

Those who are living abroad will be voting according to the old Law 459/2001, which, on the contrary, still allows votes of preference, and establishes the allocation of the seats of the foreign constituency by a proportional method. Thus, in this case, the ballot type will still be the old one.

According to the official Ministry of Interior website, these are the instructions for voting by absentee ballot, for Italians living abroad.

The voter will receive an envelope containing;

  • one ballot or two ballots (depending on whether the voter can vote for both chambers or for the Camera dei deputaty only);
  • the electoral certificate;
  • a small envelope;
  • a large envelope, pre-addressed to your Consulate;
  • the lists of candidates;
  • the voting instructions which he/she must follow to correctly express a vote.

The voter expresses his/her own vote on the ballot/s by making a mark (an X or /) on the symbol of the chosen list or, in any case, in the box that contains the list. 

Moreover, he/she can express two votes of preference in the space assigned to two or more “deputati”(representatives) or “senatori” (senators) and one vote of preference in the space assigned to a single candidate. The vote of preference which has been correctly expressed for a candidate is considered as a vote for his/her list if the voter has not made a mark in another space on the ballot. 

Then, insert your ballot/s into the small envelope (provided in your electoral kit) and seal it.

Remove the tab from your electoral certificate (which proves you have exercised your right to vote) and insert the tab along with the small envelope containing only your ballot/s into the large stamped envelope.

Mail the large envelope to the Italian Consulate responsible for the area in which you live (art. 11, Law 27, Dec. 2001, no. 459 and art. 15 of Executive Order no.2, April 2003, n. 104).

Ballots will be considered valid (only) if they are received by the Consulate no later than 4:00 p.m., local time on the Thursday before the date set for voting in Italy, and therefore by 4:00 p.m. on Thursday, March 1, 2018 (art. 12, comma 7, Law no. 459, 2001).

Voters who are residents abroad and who have not received their electoral kit (materials) within 14 days of the day set for voting in Italy (February 18), may request their ballots by going to their Consulate in person.

N.B. We will provide further clarification at such a time as the Ministry makes it available.

Here are two official videos (in Italian) published by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

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