Chile’s President signs bill regulating vote of Chileans abroad

Posted Oct 17, 2015 by Igor I. Solar
Chile’s President Michelle Bachelet signed Friday 16 the bill that allows the vote of Chileans living abroad, and establishes the procedures to vote in presidential elections and national referendums.
Michelle Bachelet Jeria  President of the Republic of Chile  announced plans for a new marine reserv...
Michelle Bachelet Jeria, President of the Republic of Chile, announced plans for a new marine reserve to warm applause from international delegates to the Our Ocean conference
Timothy A. Clary, AFP/File
Ms. Bachelet explained that the process will consist of the registration of Chileans living abroad in consulates, Foreign Service offices or international police. The electoral registry of Chileans living abroad will be created once, and will stay in effect for subsequent elections.
"Those interested should register only once to indicate their domicile abroad and should amend their registration only when they change their voting address. Ties with the country or periodic visits will not be required. Any Chilean national meeting the requirement to vote in Chile may vote while living abroad because there are no first- and second-class Chilean citizens." said the President, reports (in Spanish).
Bachelet added that to ensure the transparency of the process, voting in consulates will be conducted "in local time, with the same duration as in Chile, in the hours established by the Electoral Service (Servel). The counting of votes will be done only after the count has been completed in Chile." Ms. Bachelet also explained that "The consulates will organize the voting process, and the ballots shall be kept and sent to Chile by diplomatic bag within 24 hours of voting. This will ensure peace of mind and it will guarantee the rights of those living outside Chile who want to express their will by voting."
The President pointed out that this is a way of settling a debt to people living abroad. "Chile deserves better policies, better democracy, and that will be achieved through the participation of our citizens wherever they may live," she said.
It is anticipated that about 450,000 Chilean nationals living abroad will benefit from the new legislation.