The elections for the European Parliament will be held from May 23 until May 26, 2019.
While the procedure to register to vote changes from EU country to EU country, some essential criteria is common across the whole of the European Union.
If you are a citizen of an EU country, it is your right to vote and stand as a candidate in the elections.
If you are an EU citizen and you live in your home country you can vote for candidates (or stand for election) only in your home country.
If you are an EU citizen and you live in a country other than your home country, you can vote either in your home country or in your host country. You can not vote in both. You only have one vote.
I'm a UK citizen. How does Brexit change things?
Great question. The UK was due to leave the European Union on March 29, 2019, in which case it would not have taken part in the 2019 European elections. Citizens of the UK would no longer have been EU citizens and would not have been eligible to vote.
However, the UK has not yet left the EU. Following the agreement to prolong its EU membership until October 31, the country will almost certainly be obliged to field candidates for the elections. The scheduled date for the vote in the UK is 23 May.
The UK vote could be cancelled if the negotiated Brexit agreement is approved by the British parliament. Otherwise, the elections are set to go ahead.
In this event, UK citizens will be able to vote in the UK if they are resident in their home country. Those living in other EU member states will be eligible to vote in the country where they live, subject to meeting the relevant local conditions.
If you are an EU national living in the UK, you can still vote for candidates standing in your country of origin.
I'm an EU citizen but not a UK citizen. How can I vote?
As mentioned above, as an EU citizen, you can vote either for candidates in your home country or candidates in your country of residence. Either, or. You can't vote twice.
If you live in your country of origin, the registration procedure to vote in the European elections is identical to the procedure for local, regional and general elections. To be able to vote, you just need to register with your local authorities.
If you are an EU citizen living in a different EU country and want to vote in that host country, you will need to register with the national authorities of your host country.
For example, say you're Irish and you live in France. If you want to vote for candidates standing in Ireland, you register with the Irish authorities. If you want to vote for candidates standing in your adopted constituency in France, you need to register with the French authorities. If you want to vote for candidates in your adopted French constituency, you play by French electoral rules, not Irish ones. Each country has its own rules on minimum age and minimum amount of time you've been resident there in order to be eligible to vote.
In some EU countries, you automatically become registered to vote as soon as you have registered your residency there. In other EU countries, the registration process is not automatic.
In most EU countries, registering to vote once is enough to stay on the electoral roll for future elections. However, in Ireland and Cyprus you need to register for each election you want to vote in.
Similarly, the deadlines for registration change from EU country to EU country. You can find out the requirements for each specific EU country here.
The minimum age for voting is, in the majority of cases, 18 years old on the day of the election. Malta and Austria allow those over the age of 16 to vote, while 17-year-olds can vote in Greece.
Most EU countries also require you to have been a permanent resident in that country for a period of time (which can change from country to country) and require you not to have been legally excluded from voting.
If you are resident in Belgium, Cyprus, Greece or Luxembourg then be aware that voting in these countries is compulsory. If you are on the electoral roll in one of those countries (even if you're, say, Danish) then you are obliged to vote whether you want to or not.
I'm an EU citizen but I live outside the EU. What about me?
If you are Bulgarian, Cypriot, Danish, Greek or Italian and you live outside the European Union (that will include the UK) then you can not vote from outside your home country.
If you are not a citizen of one of the above, then you may cast your vote from an embassy or consulate of your home country.