Once again, 4.9 million people in Italy outside their municipality of residence will have objective difficulties in exercising their right to vote. This is the number of voters who work or study in places other than their municipality of residence, representing 10.5 percent of the electoral body. In 2022, Italy has not yet introduced into its regulations the possibility of voting in general elections in a municipality other than the one in which one has residence. This means that in the national elections on 25 September, not everyone will be able to vote. In Europe, only Italy, Malta, and Cyprus do not guarantee voting for this category of people.
Among people who study or work in a city other than their city of residence, nearly 2 million would take more than 4 hours, round trip, to return to their residence, with an average expense of at least 150 euros. Among these people, more than 750,000 are students.
The imbalance mainly affects southern Italian regions, where more than 1.6 million people no longer live in their municipality of residence. In these areas, the participation rate in elections is the lowest.
Participation in political life is the basic premise of any democracy. We believe that it is not only possible but also necessary for public institutions to intervene. The government’s fall has prevented discussion in Parliament on the issue, but this must become a priority.
At the moment, voting is a luxury: with the increase in prices for transportation, also due to the pandemic, the average expense of returning to vote in one’s municipality of residence will increase. And these costs are one of the main causes that lead people, including many students and young people, not to exercise their right to vote.
It is necessary to overcome this problem by providing a solution to fill the regulatory gap. Regardless of the solution that can be identified, removing obstacles to political participation is a fundamental task of the Republic, enshrined in Article 3 of the Constitution. We cannot wait any longer; voting is a right!