Did you know that foreign residents can vote to decide who becomes mayor? Register now so that you can have your say in this October’s mayoral elections.
In October, Colombians around the country will elect mayors, governors and councillors. And although it is still a few months away, some foreigners who have residency are eligible to vote and have a say in the management of the place where they are living.
Can foreigners vote?
If you are a foreign resident looking to participate in the elections, then you may be in luck, according to Colombia’s Registraduría Nacional del Estado Civil. However, you may only do so under certain conditions. Firstly, you must be over 18 years of age. Secondly, you have to have lived more than five continuous years in Colombia and hold a residency visa. This must be verified by Colombia’s migration office. Thirdly, just like Colombian nationals, you are required to register your identity document (cédula de extranjería).
It is also important to note that you are not eligible for the exact same voting rights as Colombian nationals, given that you can only vote to elect mayors, municipal councils, and local administrative bodies.
What are the key dates?
June 27: Opening of candidate registration.
July 27: Candidate registration closes.
August 2: Final list of candidates will be announced.
August 27: Final date for both locals and foreigners to register to vote.
October 27: Election Day.
Also bear in mind that Ley Seca – a ‘Dry Law’ put in place to avoid consumption of alcohol during elections and other key events – will begin at 6pm on October 26 and run until 6am on October 28 (Monday morning).
How do I register?
If you meet the criteria and are therefore eligible to vote as a foreign resident, then you must register at a local registry office branch. This process can be carried out between 8am and 5pm. Alternatively, you can also enrol to vote by registering your cédula de extranjería at one of the many registration points located in various shopping centres. In total, there are 75 shopping centres in the country that offer these register kiosks.
Where can I register my ID in Bogotá?
In Bogotá, there are a total of 24 registry offices in which you can register your ID.
Equally, several shopping centres also office ID registration for voting, including:
Unilago (Carrera 15 #78-33)
El Gran San (Carrera 10 #9-37)
C.C. Plaza de las Américas (Carrera 71D #6-94 Sur)
C.C. Hayuelos (Calle 20 #82-52)
Iserra 100 (Transversal 55 #98A-66)
C.C. Gran Estación (Avenida Carrera 60 #24-09 Entrada Principal #2 La Esfera)
C.C. Avenida Chile (Calle 72 #10-24)
C.C. Unicentro (Carrera 15 #124–3)
C.C. Centro Mayor (Calle 38A Sur #34D-51)
C.C. Santa Fe (Calle 185 #45-03)
Published in The Bogotá Post