A Hungarian citizen who lives or works abroad but still has a residence in Hungary, has to be registered in the electoral roll of the Hungarian county where he/she intends to vote. This can be done by post or on the website of the National Electoral Office. Different rules apply for Hungarian citizens who live abroad but don’t have a residence in Hungary (ethnic Hungarians outside the country), see here.
A person can ask to be registered on the electoral roll a maximum of 15 days before election day. After that the National Electoral Office has five days to approve (or reject) the application. If the request is accepted, the constituent will be on the electoral roll for 10 years or until his/her citizenship expires.
On election day a Hungarian citizen living abroad must go to a Hungarian consulate or embassy to cast one vote for a party list and one vote for a candidate in his/her single-member constituency in Hungary.
The registration deadline is the March 22, and the deadline for approval is March 29. Appeals can be made until April 4.
Why are there no postal votes?
According to Hungarian election law, postal voting is permitted only for Hungarians living outside the country who don’t have a residence in Hungary. For instance a Hungarian living in Cleveland has to go to New York to vote, a Hungarian living in Marseille has to go to Paris, meanwhile those who live in Transsylvania can vote by mail.
How many people have registered abroad?
On the website of the National Electoral Office the number of people registered to vote abroad is updated every day. As of March 28, one day before the deadline, registration requests were made from 73 countries and more than 250,000 Hungarian voters have been registered.
Most people (more than 231,000) registered from outside the Hungarian border, among those who got Hungarian citizenship recently from Romania (99,628 people) and Serbia (29,144 people). From the countries which had banned dual citizenship (Ukraine and Slovakia) 4,194 people have been registered.
Of the Hungarians living in the EU, some 5,373 people have registered in the UK, more than any other EU country. However there are more than 300,000 Hungarians living in the UK, so it’s only 1,8 percent of them.
The second largest Hungarian ex-pat community is in Germany, where 4,451 people have registered to vote. According to official data, by the end of 2013 the number of Hungarians living in Germany had grown to 135,614, so only 3,2 percent of them chose to vote from abroad.
Registration in other EU countries has also been very slow. In Austria, where around 50,000 Hungarians live, only 1,146 people have been registered. In Brussels, the capital of the EU, only 1,838, in France 971 and in Switzerland 1,376 people have registered. In the US, 1,413 people have registered.
Is it more difficult to register abroad?
Several Hungarian newspapers claim that electoral authorities often rejected the requests of people who want to vote abroad for administrative reasons. In some cases petitioners did not put the district of the city where they live, others made small grammatical mistakes while others forgot to add their doctoral degree to their name.
Whereas the National Electoral Office is very strict in the case of voters in Hungary, it is more permissive in the case of Hungarians living abroad. Their registration forms are accepted even with mistakes.
According to the law, a request for electoral registration cannot be rejected on the basis of a grammatical mistake or the different spelling of a city, since Hungarian citizens living outside the country (and who in some cases have never lived in Hungary) speak and write Hungarian with more difficulty. If the request was rejected, one can ask for another registration form.
Hungarians who want to vote abroad have made several comments about the mistakes. For instance those living in London didn't get correct information about place where they could vote. The Association for Rights of Freedom (TASZ) called on the National Electoral Office to correct the mistakes.