Electoral reforms were approved this month, designed to make it easier for Spanish citizens living abroad to vote. The amendments lift the requirement to request to receive a ballot (these are now sent to all registered voters). The changes also enable downloading of the ballot electronically, and extend the permitted time for submission of the completed ballot. In Spain’s four most recent elections less than 10 per cent of voters abroad requested a ballot, according to official data, and even fewer completed the steps necessary to cast their votes. According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the reforms protect the rights of voters living abroad to participate in elections and cast their votes.
The United Nations Human Rights Committee ruled that Spain violated the political rights of Catalan leaders by suspending them from public service before they were convicted for their participation in the 2017 independence referendum. While the decision is not binding, it sends a strong signal with regard to the suspension of elected officials.