Who does what?

Who does what?

The organisation of an electoral process requires the coordinated work of many people in a very short period of time. In a very general way, and according to their function, we can distinguish the following groups:

  1. Bodies ensuring the transparency of the electoral process
  2. Electoral management bodies
  3. Candidacies in an electoral process
  4. Subjects deciding the electoral process
  5. Agents reporting on the electoral process
  6. Security officers
  7. Other participants involved

The election administration ensures the transparency and objectivity of the process and the principle of equality. It is composed of election boards and polling stations.

The Central Electoral Board is the highest body of the election administration and is its only permanent body, some of whose functions are:

  • To direct and supervise the work of the Electoral Register Office.
  • To issue instructions to the provincial electoral boards and resolve their queries, unifying criteria.
  • To resolve complaints, claims and appeals addressed to it.
  • To ensure that candidates comply with the rules on accounts and election expenses
  • Exercise disciplinary powers over all people involved in official electoral operations.
  • To approve, at the proposal of the administration of the Autonomous Communities, minute templates, etc.

It is composed of 13 people (judges of the Supreme Court and active professors of law or political science and sociology)

Provincial Election Boards (PEBs) and District Election Boards (DEBs)

Within their territorial scope, they are responsible for resolving complaints and claims addressed to them in accordance with the LOREG.

PEBs and DEBs are constituted for each electoral process, and are composed of five members. There is a PEB in each province.

In the autonomous cities of Ceuta and Melilla, DEBs carry out the functions of the PEBs.

DEBs exist in each judicial district and guarantee the necessary means for the elections to be held in each polling place.

Polling stations

They are constituted for election day only.

They are made up of citizens chosen by a draw from among those registered in the corresponding district.

It is a single station, even if there are several elections taking place at the same time.

Each station is composed of 1 presiding officer and 2 poll clerks.

Among other functions, the station is responsible for:

  • Checking that the polling place meets the necessary conditions to be able to hold the ballot and observe whether the electoral material shows any deficiencies.
  • Presiding over the voting and to ensure order in the polling place so that it takes place without incident.
  • Starting and ending the ballot, as well as the counting of votes and the delivery of the electoral documentation to the court of first instance or justice of the peace and to the Post Office.

Ministry of the Interior Directorate General for Internal Policies

It is responsible for the general organisation of state-level electoral processes (European, general, municipal elections and referendums) and for coordinating the intervention of other bodies in this process. Its duties include the following:

Relations with the election administration and, in particular, with the Central Electoral Board.

The management of relations with the competent bodies of the Autonomous Communities in electoral matters.

Coordination with the units of other ministries with competence in electoral matters.

Provisional information on the results.

The registration of political parties.

Public funding of political parties (annual state subsidies and subsidies for election expenses) under the terms established in current legislation.

Coordination of electoral logistics.

Electoral Register Office

It is the body in charge of drawing up and updating the electoral roll. It is part of the National Statistics Institute and exercises its powers under the direction and supervision of the Central Electoral Board.

It has a provincial structure, organised into provincial departments, and is responsible for coordinating, supervising, controlling and reviewing the process of drawing up the electoral roll.

In addition, on the occasion of each electoral process it deals with:

  • Obtaining the electoral lists for public display and for polling stations.
  • Resolving complaints from voters.
  • Determining districts, polling places and polling stations.
  • Handing out copies of the electoral roll to the proclaimed candidacies.
  • Send electoral roll cards to voters.
  • Issue specific electoral roll certificates and electoral roll registration certificates.
  • Dissemination of electoral roll data.
  • Sending documentation for the national postal vote.
  • Sending documentation for postal voting from abroad (CERA and ERTA)

Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation

It is responsible (together with the Post Office and the Electoral Register Office) for ensuring that Spaniards abroad can exercise their right to vote.

Consular offices and sections are responsible for processing applications for electoral documentation for Spaniards temporarily residing abroad.

Post Office and Telegraph

As the operator designated by the government to provide the universal postal service, it is also involved in the smooth running of the electoral process.

Essentially, the Post Office is responsible for all electoral mailings, both those sent by the Electoral Register Office to voters and those sent by voters themselves. All these mailings are free of charge for voters, without prejudice to the fact that the State, through the electoral budget, must compensate the Post Office for its intervention in the electoral process. This compensation also includes that which corresponds to electoral advertising mailings by political parties.

Government Departments and Sub-departments

They carry out important electoral functions in their respective territorial areas, in close collaboration with the Ministry of the Interior, the Local Administration and the Autonomous Administration, where appropriate, including security tasks, electoral logistics, custody and distribution of electoral material, collection and transmission of information relating to monitoring throughout the day and the provisional scrutiny of the results.

City Councils

They are responsible for managing the electoral process at the local level, in collaboration with Government Departments and Sub-departments and with the Provincial Departments of the Electoral Register Office.

Who can stand as a candidate in an electoral process?

Political parties and federations

They are private associations registered as such in the Register of Political Parties under the Ministry of the Interior

Electoral coalitions

Formations of a temporary nature, constituted by parties and/or federations, whose purpose is to stand as candidates in a specific electoral process

There is no specific register of electoral coalitions. Its creation must be communicated only to the Electoral Board corresponding to the coalition’s sphere of action.

They must be set up expressly for each process, or for several processes convened on the same date, and they cease to exist once they have been held.

Elector organizations

These are political formations that are constituted with the endorsement of a variable number of elector signatures in the corresponding constituency, and only and exclusively in order to be able to present a candidacy in a specific and determined electoral process.

They do not have any vocation of permanence and, in fact, if they want to stand in another electoral process, a new collection of signatures must be carried out.


Voters for the General Parliamentary Elections are Spaniards of legal age who are registered on the electoral roll of residents in Spain and abroad and who are not deprived of their right to vote.


Electors become voters the moment they vote. In Spain, voting is voluntary. No one can be forced or coerced to vote.

The difference between the number of electors and voters represents the turnout rate, which is very important for a correct assessment of the electoral process.

Ministry of the Interior (Directorate General for Internal Policies)

It informs about the process and provisional results, mainly through institutional campaigns, its website and press networks which, together with the Secretary of State for Communication, provided during the election weekend.


The media (public and private television, radio, print media, digital newspapers, etc.) broadcast the institutional campaigns produced by the Ministry of the Interior and organise extensive media coverage of the electoral process, the activities of the competing political parties, the electoral operation and the election results.

Who ensures the security of the process?




Other participants involved in the process


These are people designated by Government Departments and Sub-departments to provide the necessary assistance to the polling station throughout the election day, always in an auxiliary capacity and under their authority.

Its functions include:

The collection and transmission of data relating to the sufficiency of electoral material and incidents that occur during the opening and constitution of polling stations.

Collection and transmission of data relating to the start of voting and turnout data at times set by the government to make this information available publicly.

Collection of a copy of the minutes of the polling station’s counting of the votes and transmission of the data contained therein. It must also keep this copy for delivery to the Government Department or Sub-department.


They are the delegates of the District Election Board and act under its authority.

They collaborate in electoral logistics and in the supervision of polling places so that their needs are covered on election day.


It participates in the electoral process by guaranteeing the vote of Armed Forces personnel serving missions abroad.


It participates in the electoral process by facilitating the voting of inmates in prisons who are not disenfranchised.


Both are people appointed by political parties to act on polling day at the polling places.

They may display emblems or stickers of the political entity they represent, but only to identify themselves as polling agents or proxies of that candidacy and without this constituting electoral advertising.


A person of legal age, in full use of his or her civil and political rights, who represents a political party in all electoral acts and operations.

They may freely access all polling places, review the voting and counting of votes at any polling station, make complaints and request certifications.

They do not vote at the polling station if they are not on its electoral roll.


This is the representative of the candidacy at a polling station. He or she performs his or her duties only before the station to which they are registered. They participate in the deliberations of the station only in an advisory capacity.

The polling agents of each candidate registered to the polling station may stand in for each other.

They can make claims or protests and request certifications.

They vote at the polling station to which they are registered, even if they are not included in the electoral roll of that polling station, provided that they are registered on the electoral roll of the constituency corresponding to that polling station. Otherwise, they may only vote by post at the polling station in which they are registered.