Voting in the Czech Republic

What you need to know to vote in Czech elections Staff

Written by Staff Published on 18.09.2006 17:16:52 (updated on 18.09.2006) Reading time: 5 minutes

Provided by the Green Party
of the Czech Republic

Voting in the Czech Republic: What You Need to Know

If you are the citizen of an EU member state, you have the right to vote in Czech local elections if you meet the following two conditions:

· You must be at least 18 years of age by the second day of the elections (i.e., 21 October 2006); and
· You must have permanent residency (trvalý pobyt) in the given municipality in the Czech Republic on election day.

This means that more than 40,000 expats in the Czech Republic are eligible to vote in the upcoming municipal elections on 20-21 October.  If you are eligible, this is your chance to make your voice heard on important local issues and express your satisfaction (or dissatisfaction) with the performance of your local town hall.  Town councils determine the number of preschools, maintain parks and playgrounds, issue construction permits, and rent and sell property among other activities.   The Green Party has compiled the non-partisan information below on how to register and vote in the upcoming elections. 

Petr Stepanek, Deputy Chairman of the Green Party and a Prague 4 Councilmember, says, “Citizens of other countries have gotten used to living here with limited rights. Fortunately, this situation is changing.  In addition the rights guaranteed under the Czech constitution, EU citizens now have the right to vote. The Greens strongly believe in shared responsibility in communities, and we have long supported extending the right to vote to non-citizens. We urge EU citizens to join Czechs on Election Day to get the best local councils possible.”

How to Register

In order to vote, eligible EU citizens must request to be added to the supplementary voter registry. Additions to the voter registration lists are handled by the town hall authorities in the municipality in which the EU citizen voter has permanent residency (in Prague, this means the relevant borough: e.g., the Prague 2 Town Hall for Vinohrady, the Prague 6 Town Hall for Dejvice, etc.). 

You may make a voter registration request (Žádost o zápis do dodatku stálého seznamu voličů) at any time until the voter rolls close two days before Election Day; i.e., until 16:00 on October 18, 2006.

The request may be submitted in writing (in which case it must be received by the town hall authorities by October 18, 2006 at 16:00) or in person. It must be clear from the request that you are claiming your right to be added to the voter rolls, and you should provide the following information:

· first and last name;
· date of birth;
· country of citizenship; and
· permanent address in the Czech Republic.

In the event that you are making the request in person, you simply present your identity documents; i.e., your residency permit (the „green passport“).

If you do not request to be added to the supplementary voter registration list, you cannot vote in local elections.

During the voting itself, i.e., on Friday, October 20, 2006 from 14:00 to 22:00 and Saturday, October 21, 2006 from 08:00 to 14:00, you must present your residency permit to the voting commission in your local district.  If you do not present your permit, you will not be allowed to vote.

Where to Vote

Voters are informed about voting locations and times in their municipalities by the mayor at least 15 days before the date of the elections (October 5th). If there is more than one district in the municipality, as is the case with most of Prague, the mayor provides information on which parts of the municipality fall into which district. The addresses of the polling places for each district are also provided in the announcement.  If you register later (between October 5th and October 18th), you can find out where your polling place is located by calling or visiting the town hall in person.  Polling place and district information may also be published in the September issue of the town hall newspaper.

How to Vote

When you arrive at your designated polling place, show your Czech residence permit to the officials.  After your name is recorded on the rolls, you will receive an empty envelope.

The ballot (volební lístek)

The ballot for local (town council) elections may be single-sided or double-sided. At the top of the ballot, you will see the name of the municipality and the number of seats on the municipal council that are up for election.   The party tickets, or lists of candidates for a given party, framed by boxes. Candidates from each political party are listed in the order determined by their party in individual columns in each box.  Ballots are distributed by the mayor of the municipality to voters at least 3 days before the election (October 17, 2006).

If you do not receive a ballot or forget to bring your ballot, you may request a ballot at the polling place.

Marking the ballot

When you receive the envelope and the ballot, you will enter an area that is set aside for marking your ballot. If you do not take your ballot into this special area, your vote will not be counted. In the ballot marking area, you can mark your ballot in one of the following ways:

– To vote for a political party: Place an „x“ by the box at the head of the column for the one political party you wish to vote for.  If you vote for more than one party in this way, your ballot will not be counted.

– To vote for a candidate:  Place an „x“ in the box next to the name of the candidate or candidates for whom you want to vote.  You may vote for candidates from any party in this way as long as the total number of candidates you vote for does not exceed the total number of seats up for election. The number of seats is shown on the top of the ballot.   If you vote for more candidates than there are seats, your ballot will not be counted.

– To vote for a political party and candidates from other parties: Place an „x“ at the head of the party ticket (as you would to vote only for a party) and then place an „x“ by the names of any other candidates in other parties for whom you want to vote (preferential votes).  Note: If you use this method of voting, the party you support receives the number of votes that remain after your preferential votes are counted.  For example, if there are 11 seats on the council, and you place an „x“ by Party A and by the names of 5 candidates from other parties, your preferential votes are counted first. The remainder of your votes then go to the first 6 candidates on Party A´s ticket.  If you mark more than one party (at the top of the party ticket) or more preferential votes than there are open seats, your ballot will not be counted.
After marking your ballot, place it in the envelope, and place the envelope in the urn.  If you fail to place an „x“ by any party or any candidate, if you do not place the ballot in the envelope, if you tear the ballot, or if you put more than one ballot in a single envelope, your ballot will not be counted.

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