Active suffrage and voter registration

Active suffrage is the right to vote and passive suffrage is the right to stand as a candidate and be voted in.

In the elections to the Cortes Generales, all Spaniards of legal age who are registered in the electoral census (both residents in Spain and abroad) may vote.

However, the following may not vote:

Persons definitely sentenced by the court to the principal or accessory penalty of deprivation of the right to vote during the time they are serving their sentence.

No. Nobody may be obliged or coerced to exercise their right to vote or to disclose their vote under any pretext.

Voting (the exercise of the right to suffrage) is universal, free, equal, direct and secret.

  • Universal, because it can be exercised by all persons of legal age in full use of their civil and political rights.
  • Free, because no one can be obliged to vote.
  • Equal, because all votes have the same value.
  • Direct, because our votes are used to designate the people we want to represent us in public affairs.
  • Secret, because no one can be obliged to reveal how they vote.

No, you may vote in only one process. However, it should be borne in mind that, in the event that several electoral processes are convoked on the same day, the voter exercises his or her right to vote in a single act, and cannot vote at different times on that election day.

The electoral census or voter roll is a database containing the registrations of everyone meeting the requirements to vote who are not permanently or temporarily deprived of the right to suffrage.

The electoral roll is unique and permanent and it is updated on a monthly basis.

The electoral census in the case of Elections to the Cortes Generales is made up of the following:

a) Census of Voters Residing in Spain (CER) b) Census of Resident-Absentee Voters Living Abroad (CERA)

Registration in the electoral census is compulsory in order to be able to vote.

In order to register in the CERE, citizens of the European Union must appear on the Municipal Register and have made a formal declaration of their wish to exercise their right to vote in Spain in the municipal elections. The declaration of willingness is permanent while the citizen of a European Union country continues to reside in Spain, unless otherwise stated.

The voter rolls are drawn up by the Electoral Census Office, a body within the National Statistics Institute (Ministry of Economic Affairs and Digital Transformation) which exercises its powers under the direction and supervision of the Central Electoral Board.

The Municipal Councils, the Spanish Consular Offices abroad, and the Consular Sections of the Diplomatic Missions process voter registration ex officio, and the Electoral Census Office is the body responsible for compiling the voter rolls.

To draw up the rolls, the Office:

• Coordinates the process of drawing up the electoral roll and, for this purpose, it may issue instructions to the Town Councils and Consulates, as well as those responsible for the Civil Register and the Central Registry of Criminal Records. • Supervises the process of drawing up the electoral roll and, for this purpose, it may inspect the Town Councils and Consulates. • Monitors and reviews the registrations and de-registrations processed by the competent bodies ex officio and draws up a national voter file. • Eliminates multiple registrations of a single person that have not been detected by the Town Councils and Consulates.

The census used in each electoral process is the one completed on the first day of the second month prior to the date of the announcement of the elections.

In the case of the 23 July elections, the roll will be the one completed on 1 January 2023.

However, the Organic Law on the General Electoral System provides for a rectification period once the elections have been called.

Municipal Councils and Consulates will display the current electoral lists of their respective municipalities from 5 to 12 June.

In addition, the Electoral Census Office will send all voters a census card with the updated details of their registration in the electoral roll and the Section and Polling Station where they must vote, and also inform voters affected by changes to the Sections, Polling Place and Polling Stations.

Similarly, it will be possible to view the data on the polling places and polling stations via the Internet on the INE website ( without the need for a digital certificate.

To view each voter’s individual registration details, which will also include those of their corresponding polling station and places, it will be necessary to use a digital certificate. This can be accessed via the INE website ( from the day of the publication of the announcement of the elections.

If, during the period in which the lists are displayed (from 5 to 12 June), anyone observes that they are unduly included in or excluded from the electoral rolls, they may submit a claim to the Provincial Delegation of the Electoral Census Office.

The latter, within a period of three days, will resolve the claims and order the rectifications that will have to be displayed to the general public on 16 June. In addition, it will inform each claimant and the corresponding Town Council or Consulate of the decision that is made.

In particular, persons who have changed their address or those voting for the first time should check whether their data are correct.