Foreigners, use your (neighbour’s) vote

LAST UPDATED: 4 Mar, 2008 @ 18:55
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Greg RobbinsInternet campaign gives immigrants their say in national elections

FRUSTRATED at not being able to vote on March 9? Angry with the way the country is being run but feel powerless to affect change? Then fear not. An internet campaign is underway that gives non-Spanish citizens their say in the coming General Election.

Under national law, only citizens of countries that have reciprocal voting agreements with Spain can vote in national elections, leaving Norwegians as the sole foreigners at the polling booths this coming Sunday

Angered at this lack of voice, Greg Robbins, a North American who has lived in Spain for 17 years has launched Vota Por Mi (Vote for Me).

“I think the current system that does not permit the millions of legal immigrants to exercise their democratic right is unfair. We come here, we create jobs, we pay our taxes and are an important part of society. We must be allowed our say,” the 39-year-old computer programmer told the Olive Press.

Its modus operandi is simple: a foreigner logs on to the website, clicks on the orange box, records a few personal details and then registers the party for which they want to elect to government.

An abstaining native who plans to become a ‘donor,’ visits the website and is automatically allocated an immigrant’s choice.

The Spanish citizen then uses the vote as instructed by the foreigner.

The campaign has so far proved popular, with 900 disaffected people registering their voting intentions. And Robbins hopes it will be a springboard for change, allowing ten percent of the population their say.

“I want this campaign to create awareness and generate discussion in Parliament. Around four million of us are silenced by this law,” said Robbins, who has lived in Barcelona since 1991.

According to the site, more than 500 votes will be going to the ruling PSOE party with around 200 going to the Partido Popular. The rest are divided between minority parties.

Register your vote at www.votapormi.org

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