On March 4th, after many years, finally there will be political elections in Italy.
Italians abroad can vote for their representatives (members of the chambers who represent the Italian people living outside of Italy). On FB groups for Italians in South America / Argentina there are some posts inviting to vote for this or that candidate, but I was unable to find their political manifesto/program. They all say "vote for me because" and people supporting them repost them with a generic "I invite you to vote for John Doe for a true representation of Italians abroad!". Duh?
The two candidates I saw publicized did not feature any Italian party symbol, so I was not even able to tell if they are right or left candidates.
How do we vote? We are mailed the electoral package which includes: the voting card, a white envelope, a pre-addressed envelope to be mailed to the Consulate.
We draw an X on the party of our choice using a black or blue pen (in Italy we vote with a special pencil that cannot be erased), pur the card in the white (anonymous) envelope, and put it in the bigger envelope that has to be returned to the Italian consulate wither by mail (pre-paid) or by hand (if you live close to the consulate, a letter box will be available to drop it).
Italians abroad usually vote a few days before Italians in Italy, but their vote is only for a limited number of Parliament members (18 in total), as follows:
|Region||No. of citizens||Deputates||Senators|
|North & Central America||451.062||2||1|
|Africa, Asia, Oceania and Antartide||277.997||1||1|
Of course, this costs a lot of money compared to the number of Parliament members to be elected, and Consulates are dealing with all of this on top of their regular work. This is why whenever there is an election, Italian consulates are more swamped than ever and ordinary work is set aside for a while.
It would be nice to find out how many actually vote, as I have never met one Italo-Argentinian proudly saying I voted for X because I believe in this and that. Indeed, it has been known for a long time (over 10 years) that there is a fervent black market of electoral packages: candidates buying electoral packages from Italians abroad, but also packages *stolen* from mailboxes of Italians abroad and sold to candidates for the price of a coffee, corrupted postmen across the globe paid to 'set aside' packages instead of delivering them, and also 'smart' printing shops which printed electoral cards in excess (120.000 cards in excess in Argentina in 2008!) In the same article it says that in Argentina there are a staggering half million voters, second only to Germany.
Personally, I am against the vote for those not residing in Italy. How does it work in your country? How do you vote?