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There is still a lack of out-of-office voting law

There is still a lack of out-of-office voting law

With the fall of the Draghi government, the Chamber’s consideration of bills to allow voting for “unseated” people was also interrupted: that is, to give the possibility to vote in the municipality in which they live to whom, for reasons of study or work, their residence is too far away, and therefore must travel for hours to vote in Polling station (determined by law in the municipality of residence, not the place of residence).

The Italian legislative system provides for the possibility of remote voting only if you are residing abroad, albeit temporarily, while students and workers who live in Italy, but in a municipality other than their place of residence, are obliged to return to the municipality of residence and to bear logistical and economic burdens the further away the municipality of residence about an individual’s home.

who found Temporarily Abroad or registered to register Italians Resident Abroad (AIRE) can vote by correspondence, that is, by mailing in ballot papers. Voting by correspondence from abroad is available for political elections, referendums and also for the election of Italian representatives to the European Parliament. On the other hand, there are no similar mechanisms for those who live in Italy but live in a municipality other than the one in which they reside. It is easier to vote for political elections if you are in Austria, temporarily or permanently, than to do the same if you live in Milan but have accommodation in Catanzaro.

The numbers of students and workers outside the office are not insignificant. Relationship The commission set up by the Minister for Relations with Parliament, Federico De Enca, who drafted it a few months ago, estimates that about 1.85 million Italians live more than two hours’ drive from their seats. Altogether, those who live somewhere other than where they live number 4.89 million: about 10 percent of the electorate.

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Thus, the phenomenon of the so-called “involuntary abstention”, for those who do not have the means or resources to return to vote in their place of residence, can significantly affect the upcoming political elections: for the reasons mentioned, the specificity of the period during which the elections will be held – in weeks should also be added The last of September, invitations to take university exams and degrees are often decided – and the fact that for these political elections it will be possible to vote on one day, Sunday 25 September.

Italy is one of the few European countries that does not have a law guaranteeing voting for those who study or work away from their places of residence.

It also explains study Created by the Iovotofuorisede Civic Committee and The Good Lobby, with the exception of Italy, Malta and Cyprus, over the years all other EU countries have equipped themselves with tools to facilitate the electoral participation of students and off-sites as well as the elderly and the disabled. In Austria, Germany, Ireland, the United Kingdom, Spain and Switzerland voting by mail is exercised; In Belgium, France and the Netherlands it is possible to vote by delegating another person to do so; In Denmark, Estonia, Norway, Portugal, Sweden, early voting is located somewhere other than the place of residence; In Estonia, it is also possible to vote electronically.

Currently, five bills have been submitted to the House Constitutional Affairs Committee to regulate the right to vote in a municipality other than a municipality of one’s residence. The oldest, but also the one that was being worked on before the fall of the government, dates back to March 2019, and Mariana Madea, a member of the Democratic Party, was the first signatory.

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The somewhat complicated matter is governed by Article 48 of the Constitution, which states that voting must be “personal, equal, free and secret” and compliance with these principles is what has hampered approval of voting reform for the time being. Talking about voting by mail, for example, discusses the possibility that he might not really be free (one spouse might force the other to vote for a particular party, for example). On the other hand, electronic voting poses several problems regarding data confidentiality.

“There are a number of technical hurdles that need to be addressed,” Madea explained. «The Ministry of the Interior, noting the existence of these difficulties, has always maintained an open attitude, with the will to overcome them. Then we were asked to interrupt the discussion because Minister D’Incà requested a comprehensive study on the topic of abstinence, and so we waited for the results of the “White Paper”, as the study commissioned by D’Incà was called.

After the study was published, Madea explained that the promoters of the bill were working on drafting a unified text. It was the Democratic Party that requested an appointment for the semester, scheduled for the end of July. We were in a good stage.” But with the fall of the government, discussion of the bill was skipped. “In my suggestion there were technical methods different from those proposed by the White Paper, but the point for us was the principle: to be able to get those who live outside their place of residence to vote. Also because we are not talking about small numbers, it often concerns It’s the youth: we want to fight abstinence and bring young people closer to politics, but how do we do that by keeping all these people out of the vote?”.

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A few days ago, the schedule was skipped, Emma Bonino and Riccardo Maggi from + Europa launched the signature collection #iovotofuorisede and presented Enquiry to Interior Minister Lamorgese, asking “how it intends to intervene to ensure that voters temporarily residing outside the area of ​​residence can exercise their right to vote in the place where they live”.

But with the exception of extraordinary legislative interference by the Ministry of the Interior – which is hard to imagine, given the tired legislative process that has been implemented thus far, and even more so for the resigned government – for the September 25 elections, nearly 5 million Italians could be hindered, according to The expression of the Constitution, “active participation in the political, economic and social organization of the country.”