ATHENS – In a historic first for the modern Greek state, members of Greece’s extensive and far-flung expatriate community will on Saturday be able to exercise their right to vote in the country’s parliamentary elections from their country of residence instead of having to return to Greece.
On the basis of a law passed in 2019, a long-standing demand of Greeks abroad was finally met, albeit with conditions that exclude a large number of potential voters. Under the law, in order to register to vote in their country of residence, Greeks living abroad must provide proof of having lived in Greece for at least two of the last 35 years and must have submitted a tax statement in the current or previous tax year. Applications can be submitted online, via the interior ministry platform apodimoi.gov.gr.
A total of 22,825 Greeks living abroad are registered in the special electoral rolls for expatriates and they will cast their votes on Saturday, one day before the polls open in Greece, from 7:00 until 19:00 local time.
A total of 99 polling stations have been set up in 85 cities and 35 countries throughout the world, in Greek embassies, consulates, Greek Orthodox churches, or buildings occupied by Greek community associations or other Greek organizations. In order for a polling station to be created in an area, at least 40 voters must register to vote locally. In cities where the number is insufficient, voters must travel to the nearest city or country with a polling station to vote.
The largest number of Greek voters were registered in the United Kingdom, with polling places set up in London, Glasgow, Birmingham, Leeds, and Ediburgh, followed by Germany, the Netherlands, the United States, Belgium, and Cyprus.
Voters can find out the exact address of their polling place online, via the digital app ‘Find Out Where You Vote’ (https://mpp.ypes.gov.gr/#/) by filling in the required details or via the 24-hour phone lines 2131361500 and 2131313800.
As is the case for voters in Greece, they must bring with them a valid form of ID issued by Greek authorities (police ID, passport, driving license).
Voters abroad will only be able to cast a vote for the parties’ state deputy ballots and therefore do not need to select individual candidates, though any selection marked will not render their vote invalid.
Their votes will be added to the overall result when dividing the seats corresponding to each party and also when distributing the state deputy seats of each party.
The equipment, envelopes, ballots, and other items used in the electoral process will be the same as those used in Greece.
Once the voting ends in each polling station abroad, the election committees will not count the votes cast for each party but only the number of envelopes, without opening them. These will then be transported to Athens and the Athens Appeals Court in the next two days, where they will be opened and the votes counted once voting has ended in Greece.