‘LAST CHANCE’ by Mijas Councilor Bill Anderson

The celebrations are finally over and life can slowly return to the normal chaos of day-to-day living. However, this is an important week for International residents living in Spain.

For British and Norwegian residents, the clock is ticking to get your registration onto the Voters’ Roll. Whilst technically we have until 15th January to get this done, the 15th is a Sunday, so in reality, we only have until Friday the 13th. I hope that’s not a bad omen!!

People are still putting up all sorts of excuses for not registering.

“I don’t understand Spanish Politics.”

“I wouldn’t know who to vote for.”

“We are guests in the country and the Spanish should decide who runs their Councils.”

“I never vote. I don’t like politics.”

Reality check: If you have not received your Letter of invitation to register, it ain’t going to arrive! Get yourself down to your local council office this week and ask to be registered on the “Censo Electoral”.

Who can register? If you are British or Norwegian and have been resident in Spain for at least 3 years you have a right to be included. There are also 8 other countries with agreements, many of whom are Spanish-speaking former Spanish Colonies.

Why bother? Many International residents have lost the right to vote in their home country because of the time they have been abroad and the Spanish Local elections remain the only place to exercise their democratic rights. I have spent the last 3 years dealing with problems and complaints of International residents and I find it difficult to believe that Mijas is unique in this respect. How can you reasonably complain about the way your money has been spent and in some cases squandered if you have left the decision of who spends it on others?

Not touting for votes.  This article is not saying, “Vote for me.” What it is saying is “get more involved in the municipality where you pay your taxes, spend your money, and support local businesses. What interests me right now is the registration onto the Voters’ Roll and not how you are going to use that vote. That’s your decision and if local politicians can’t convince you in the next 5 months why you should vote for them, they don’t deserve your vote.  If they don’t reach out to you and explain what they are going to do for your community, they don’t deserve your vote. In some communities in Spain, the International community exists in such large numbers that they could determine who manages their local government, who spends their money and on what, and who will be accountable to them, the voters over the next 4 years.

Ask yourself the question, “ How hard has my local government tried to ensure that I get registered?” If they haven’t bothered, it’s because they don’t want you to get involved. Don’t let them win.

There is still time to get the deed done this week until January 13th.

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