EU citizens must register to vote in European elections

Even if you voted in the recent local elections, you have to update your registration

Elections for European Parliament are coming up May 24–25, and EU citizens living in the Czech Republic can vote, but only if they are registered ahead of time.

In order to vote, the EU citizens must turn 18 on or before May 25, 2019, and have a permanent or temporary residence as of April 10.

People who did not vote in the Czech Republic for the previous European Parliament elections five years ago must register by April 14. People who voted in Czech local elections, but not the previous EP elections, must have their registration information transferred to the EP voting rolls.

People who did vote in the previous EP elections should confirm that their registration is still on the books.

Registering should be done at the local authority where the person lives. The local district office should be able to provide forms for registering.

The local district on or before May 9 should notify the voter where the particular polling place the voter should use is located.

In order to vote, every voter must provide evidence of his or her identity and citizenship.

A Czech citizen may do so by submitting a valid ID, Czech passport or similar travel document. A citizen of another EU member state may do so by submitting a permanent residence permit, a passport or an ID.

People who fail to submit a proper ID will not be allowed to vote.

People must also vote in person. Proxy representation is not allowed, but people with disabilities or people who cannot read and write can be accompanied by another voter who can help them fill out the form and place it in the voting box.

Voters will get an envelope with unmarked paper ballots. The voter will mark the ballots for the candidates they prefer and put the ballots in the envelope and into the voting box. If the envelope contains multiple ballots, it will not be counted.

The EU is trying to increase awareness of the upcoming elections and has launched websites in all of the official EU languages including English and Czech.

The English site is www.thistimeimvoting.eu and the Czech site is www.tentokratbuduvolit.eu.

The sites allow you to become involved in spreading the word about the elections but do not have information on particular parties, platforms, issues or candidates.

“As Europeans, we face many challenges, from migration to climate change, from youth unemployment to data privacy. We live in an ever more globalized, competitive world. At the same time, the Brexit referendum has demonstrated that the EU is not an irrevocable project. And while most of us take democracy for granted, it also seems under increasing threat, both in principle and practice,” the English version of the site states.

“That's why we have started building a community of supporters to help encourage a higher voter turnout at the European Elections,” it adds.

The Czech Interior Ministry has put out a fact sheet for foreigners about the upcoming EP elections, and the English version is available for download at www.mvcr.cz.

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