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Special Voting Arrangements (SVAs) in Europe: In-Country Postal, Early, Mobile and Proxy Arrangements in Individual Countries

PUBLISHED:
19/10/2020
 |   | 
Special Voting Arrangements (SVAs) in Europe. Image credit: International IDEA.

Special Voting Arrangements (SVAs) in Europe. Image credit: International IDEA.

Disclaimer: Views expressed in this commentary are those of the author. This commentary is independent of specific national or political interests. Views expressed do not necessarily represent the institutional position of International IDEA, its Board of Advisers or its Council of Member States.  The maps presented in this Feature Story do not imply on the part of the Institute any judgement on the legal status of any territory or the endorsement of such boundaries, nor does the placement or size of any country or territory reflect the political view of the Institute. The maps have been created for this Feature Story in order to add clarity to the text.

 

In recent decades, greater attention has been given by governments and experts alike to how voting can become more accessible and convenient to voters. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, renewed focus is on how to enable the greatest number of people to vote with the lowest amount of risk. Special Voting Arrangements (SVAs) are defined as those existing arrangements that allow voters to exercise their right to vote by alternative means to casting their ballot in person at their respective polling station. International IDEA is collecting comparative information on practices in SVAs in Europe with the aim to promote the awareness of the strengths and weaknesses of these voting methods and contribute to improvements in their application. This dataset presents information on postal, early, mobile and proxy voting in countries of Europe.

While in practice several other forms of SVAs exist, such as voting in special polling stations or online voting, the four methods presented below were selected as they are of particular relevance for in-country voting in Europe during the pandemic. Based on existing legal frameworks and infrastructure, along with the socio-political contexts of individual countries, these four methods are offered as SVAs for in-country voting in many countries across Europe. SVAs are mainly directed towards those groups of voters who cannot make it in person to a polling station, but this is not always the case and varies broadly across countries. Various European public opinion surveys on methods of voting point to a diversity of sentiments among voters, with some European countries hosting a high degree of voter preference for voting remotely (through postal or online methods), while many others prefer to vote in conventional polling stations. Important considerations for voting through SVAs include mechanisms for reliable voter identification, ensuring the secrecy and non-coercion of the vote, preventing manipulation of results, guaranteeing functioning postal or other relevant services, and the concurrent costs and capacity of electoral management bodies (EMBs) (European Commission 2018).

Important considerations for decision-makers and EMBs were highlighted in International IDEA’s recent Policy Brief, Managing Elections During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Considerations for Decision-Makers. The key question is how decision-makers can ensure sufficient and credible levels of voter participation amid the pandemic that will manage to guarantee the legitimacy and representativeness of the vote. To answer this question, it is important to consider how to provide a safe voting environment for both voters and poll workers, potentially by minimising risky in-person interactions; how to deliver free and fair elections under unusual circumstances; and how to maintain inclusivity throughout for the most vulnerable groups in our populations.

The data below is part of evolving research on SVAs being developed by International IDEA. Regulations listed apply to national level elections. Please send any questions, feedback or notification of any inaccuracies to Anika Heinmaa, Research Assistant with the Regional Europe Programme, <a.heinmaa@idea.int>. An Excel spreadsheet of the data is available here.

 

In-Country Postal voting

 

Availability of In-Country Postal Voting in Europe, International IDEA, 2020. 

 

 

Postal voting for this dataset is defined as those measures that allow a voter to submit their ballot by physical post to the election administration. While postal voting is in principle early voting, it differs in that the vote can be physically submitted remotely by the voter themselves. Postal voting, as the only method of voting independent of time and place, is the most convenient form of voting (Armbruster and Pautsch 2019). However, in granting the voter this flexibility, the risks of voter identification and physical transport of the vote are more acute. To guarantee postal voting, it is essential that voter identification and authentication is carried out in a reliable way, that secrecy of the vote is maintained throughout the process and the ballot transfer and count are safe and efficient in a timely fashion. EMBs must be able to control that each voter only exercises her/his right to vote once. Secrecy of the ballot is usually maintained by requiring that a posted ballot and other materials such as voter authentication statements are enclosed separately in a postal package. Many countries provide return envelopes to voters, thus making the postal voting free of costs for voters. The country’s postal service must also be reliable to ensure that votes are received by the voter with sufficient time to complete and return the ballot. Protocols should outline in what timeframe voters must post their ballot, as well as where and how completed ballots must be counted and stored by election staff. While evidence on the impact of postal voting on turnout is mixed, there is a consensus around the fact that postal voting increases accessibility, an important feature amid the considerations of the COVID-19 crisis (European Commission 2018).

 

Table 1. Availability of In-Country Postal Voting in Europe. 

Country

Is in-country postal voting available?

Who is eligible and in what timeframe?

Relevant Law

Albania
No
 
 
Andorra
No
 
 
Armenia
No
 
 
Austria
Yes, some voters
Postal voting is limited to those unable to vote in person. Voters can apply for voting cards up to four days in advance of election day online and up to two days in advance of election day in person. Postal votes cast must be received by the relevant electoral authorities not later than 17:00 on election day.
§ 38 and § 60, Federal Law on National Council Elections of 1992, amended 2016.
 
Section 5a and Section 10, Federal Presidential Election Act 1971, amended 2016.
Azerbaijan
No
 
 
Belarus
No
 
 
Belgium
No
 
 
Bosnia and Herzegovina
No
 
 
Bulgaria
No
 
 
Croatia
No
 
 
Cyprus
No
 
 
Czech Republic
No
 
 
Denmark
No
 
 
Estonia
No
 
 
Finland
No
 
 
France
No
 
 
Georgia
No
 
 
Germany
Yes, all voters
All voters are eligible for postal voting. Postal votes cast must be received by the Constituency Returning Officer of the relevant constituency no later than 18:00 on election day.
Section 14(3) and Section 36, Federal Elections Act of 1993, amended 2017.
Greece
No
 
 
Hungary
Yes, some voters
Only voters with no Hungarian address are eligible. Votes must be received by the National Election Office or a relevant election office before the end of election day.
Section 266 and Section 279, Act on Electoral Procedure of 2013.
Iceland
Yes, all voters
All voters are eligible for postal voting. Votes are considered to be cast on the day when the covering letter was dated. Votes can be completed and sent no earlier than eight weeks before election day and until the election date.
Article 57 and Article 63, Act No. 24 from 16 May 2000 Concerning Parliamentary Elections to the Althing.
Ireland
Yes, some voters
Only voters that are members of the Garda Síochána or Defence Forces, or who is unable to go in person to a polling station due to health reasons are eligible. Votes must be received by the returning officer before the close of the poll.
Section 14 and Section 64, Electoral Act of 1992, amended 2017.
Italy
No
 
 
Latvia
No
 
 
Liechtenstein
Yes, all voters
All voters are eligible for postal voting. Votes must be received by or delivered to the municipality by 17:00 on the Friday preceding election day.
Article 5 and Article 8, Act on the Exercise of Political Rights in National Affairs of 1973, amended 2012.
Lithuania
Yes, all voters
Only voters that are unable to go in person to a polling station due to health reasons, incarceration or service in the military are eligible. Voting is possible via specially designated post offices during their business hours on the final Wednesday, Thursday and Friday preceding election day.
Article 67, Law on Elections to the Seimas of 1992, amended 2016.
Luxembourg
Yes, all voters
All voters are eligible for postal voting. Votes must be received by the polling station on the day of the election before 14:00.
Loi électorale du 18 février 2003 and Loi du 8 mars 2018.
Malta
No
 
 
Moldova
No
 
 
Monaco
No
 
 
Montenegro
Yes, some voters
Only voters who are unable to make it to the polling station due to health reasons are eligible. Deadlines for receipt of votes shall be laid down by the State Election Commission.
Article 67 and Article 85, Law on Election of Councillors and Members of Parliament of 1998, amended 2016.
Netherlands
No
 
 
North Macedonia
No
 
 
Norway
 
No
 
 
Poland
Yes, all voters
All voters are eligible for postal voting. Voters may be excluded from this right if they register to vote at a special polling station. Return envelopes must be delivered to the precinct electoral commission by the end of the vote. Any late envelopes shall be handed over to the competent director of a National Election Office branch.
Article 2 and Article 9, Draft Act on Special Rules for the Organization of General Elections of the President of the Republic of Poland Ordered in 2020 with the Possibility of Postal Voting (in force as of 8 May 2020).
Portugal
No
 
 
Romania
No
 
 
Russia
No
 
 
San Marino
No
 
 
Serbia
No
 
 
Slovakia
No
 
 
Slovenia
Yes, some voters
Only voters who are unable to make it to the polling station due to health or imprisonment are eligible to vote by post. Voting by post is to be conducted before election day.
Article 81, Law on Elections to the National Assembly of 1992, amended 2006.
 
Article 17, Act Amending the National Assembly Elections Act, 2017.
Spain
Yes, some voters
Only voters who expect to be absent or otherwise unable to cast their vote in person on election day may vote by post. Postal votes delivered before 20:00 on election day are forwarded by their respective post office to the nearest polling station. Votes received after 20:00 are forwarded to the corresponding District Election Commission.
Article 72 and Article 73, The Organic Law of the General Electoral Regime of 1985, amended 2016.
Sweden
No
 
 
Switzerland
Yes, all voters
All voters are eligible for postal voting. Procedures for postal voting vary by canton.
Article 5 and Article 8, Federal Act on Political Rights of 1976.
Turkey
No
 
 
Ukraine
No
 
 
United Kingdom
Yes, all voters
All voters are eligible for postal voting. Votes must reach the returning officer or a polling station in the constituency before the close of the poll.
Section 3 and Section 10, Representation of the People Act 2000.

 

Early Voting

Availability of Early Voting in Europe, International IDEA, 2020. 

 

 

Early voting is for this dataset defined as in-person opportunities for submitting one’s vote at a polling station before election day. Other early methods that are not in-person (such as postal or e-voting) or that do not take place in a polling station (such as mobile voting) are not included in this category. Early voting may or may not require a voter to register beforehand, in some countries voters can simply go to the polling station with valid identification during specified hours before election day. Early voting can make it easier to maintain the secrecy and integrity of the vote, as unlike in the other SVAs discussed in this dataset, it is conducted in a controlled environment. Accurate voter registries are also important in the case of early voting to ensure that voters vote only once. Protocols should outline where and in what timeframe a voter can cast their ballot, as well as where and how completed ballots must be counted and stored.

 

Table 2. Availability of Early Voting in Europe. 

Country

Is early voting available?

Who is eligible and in what timeframe?

Relevant Law

Albania
No
 
 
Andorra
No
 
 
Armenia
No
 
 
Austria
No
 
 
Azerbaijan
No
 
 
Belarus
Yes, some voters
Voters who expect to be absent or unable to come to the polling station on election day are eligible. Voting is permitted not earlier than five days before election day.
Article 53, Electoral Code of 2000, amended 2015.
Belgium
No
 
 
Bosnia and Herzegovina
No
 
 
Bulgaria
No
 
 
Croatia
No
 
 
Cyprus
No
 
 
Czech Republic
No
 
 
Denmark
Yes, all voters
All voters are eligible for early voting. Voting is permitted within the three weeks prior to election day not later than on the last weekday preceding the election day.
Section 53 and Section 56, Folketing Elections Act of 1987, amended 2014.
Estonia
Yes, all voters
All voters are eligible for early voting. Voting is permitted on days specified by the electoral act between the tenth and fourth days preceding the election day.
Section 38 and Section 40, Riigikogu Election Act of 2002, amended 2017.
Finland
Yes, all voters
All voters are eligible for early voting. Voting is permitted from the eleventh day preceding election day until the fifth.
Section 46 and Section 47, Election Act of 1998, amended 2016.
France
No
 
 
Georgia
No
 
 
Germany
No
 
 
Greece
No
 
 
Hungary
No
 
 
Iceland
Yes, some voters
Voters who are unable to vote in person on election day are eligible. Voting is permitted not earlier than within the eight weeks preceding election day.
Article 56 and Article 57, Act No. 24 from 16 May 2000 Concerning Parliamentary Elections to the Althing.
Ireland
No
 
 
Italy
No
 
 
Latvia
Yes, all voters
All voters are eligible for early voting. Ballots must be submitted for safe-keeping to specified polling stations within the three days preceding election day.
Section 481, Saeima Election Law of 1995, amended 2014.
Liechtenstein
No
 
 
Lithuania
Yes, some voters
Voters who are unable to vote in person on election day are eligible. Voting is conducted on the Wednesday and Thursday before election day.
Article 64, Law on Elections to the Seimas of 1992, amended 2016.
Luxembourg
No
 
 
Malta
Yes, some voters
Voters who will be out of the country or hospitalised on election day are eligible. Voting is conducted seven days before election day.
Section 77, General Elections Act of 1991, amended 2017.
Moldova
No
 
 
Monaco
No
 
 
Montenegro
No
 
 
Netherlands
No
 
 
North Macedonia
No
 
 
Norway
Yes, all voters
All voters are eligible for early voting. Voting is conducted from 10 August in the year of the election and no later than the last Friday before election day.
Section 8-1, Representation of the People Act of 2002, amended 2003.
Poland
No
 
 
Portugal
yes, all voters
All voters are eligible for early voting. Registration takes place between Monday and Thursday, with early voting taking place on the following Sunday one week before election day.
Electoral Law of the President of the Republic of 1976, amended 2020
Electoral Law of the Assembly of the Republic of 1979, amended 2020
Romania
No
 
 
Russia
Yes, some voters
Election commissions may authorise early voting for voters in remote areas, voters who will be at sea on election day, and voters in polar stations. Voting may be conducted no earlier than 20 days before election day in the case of parliamentary elections and no earlier than fifteen in the case of presidential.
Article 82, Federal Law On Elections of Deputies to the State Duma of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation of 2014, amended 2016.
 
Article 70, Federal Law on the Election of the President of the Russian Federation of 2003, amended 2011.
San Marino
No
 
 
Serbia
No
 
 
Slovakia
No
 
 
Slovenia
Yes, some voters
Voters who will be absent on election day are eligible. Voting is conducted no more than five days and not later than two days prior to election day.
Article 69, National Assembly Elections Act of 1992, amended 2006.
Spain
No
 
 
Sweden
Yes, all voters
All voters are eligible for early voting. Voting is conducted no earlier than the 18th day prior to election day.
Chapter 7, Elections Act of 2005, amended 2014.
Switzerland
Yes, all voters
All voters are eligible for early voting. Voting is conducted on at least two of the four days before election day.
Article 7, Federal Act on Political Rights of 1976.
Turkey
No
 
 
Ukraine
No
 
 
United Kingdom
No
 
 

 

Mobile Voting

Availability of Mobile Voting in Europe, International IDEA, 2020. 

 

Mobile voting is for this dataset defined as when members of the election administration visit a voter either at home or at an institution in which they reside with a mobile ballot box to facilitate their vote. This method is different from special polling stations, as it involves a ballot box being brought upon request for a single voter, while special polling stations usually require a threshold of voters and involve establishing the controlled environment provided for by a polling station in an institution of residence such as a hospital, nursing home or prison. There are no countries in Europe which allow all voters to freely request mobile voting, and voters usually must apply with a valid reason to vote through mobile voting, identification is checked at the time of voting, and the voter receives and casts their voting materials at the same time (European Commission 2018). The vote is placed and kept in the special ballot box, which is returned to the relevant polling station and usually mixed and counted with the regular votes. While mobile voting can help increase accessibility of the vote for groups that would otherwise be unable to vote, maintaining secrecy of the vote and ensuring that votes are cast without coercion are of greater concern with this method (European Commission 2018).

 

Table 3. Availability of Mobile Voting in Europe. 

Country

Is mobile voting available?

Who is eligible and in what timeframe?

Relevant Law

Albania
No
 
 
Andorra
No
 
 
Armenia
Yes
Voters undergoing inpatient care at a medical institution or who are incarcerated are eligible. Voting is conducted on election day.
Article 12 and Article 56, Electoral Code of 2003, amended 2016.
Austria
Yes
Voters who are bedridden or otherwise incapacitated are eligible. Voting is conducted on election day.
Section 73, Federal Law on National Council Elections of 1992, amended 2016.
 
Section 5a, Federal Presidential Election Act of 1971, amended 2016.
Azerbaijan
Yes
Voters who cannot vote in-person due to the state of their health are eligible. Voting is conducted on election day.
Article 105, Election Code of 2003, amended 2017.
Belarus
Yes
Voters who cannot vote in-person due to their state of health or for any other reasonable excuse are eligible. Voting is conducted on election day.
Article 54, Electoral Code of 2000, amended 2015.
Belgium
No
 
 
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Yes
Voters who are homebound due to the state of their health or who are incarcerated are eligible. Voting is conducted on election day.
Article 3.14, Article 5.21 and Article 5.22, Election Law of 2001, amended 2016.
Bulgaria
Yes
Voters who cannot vote in-person due to the state of their health are eligible. Voting is conducted on election day.
Article 37, Election Code of 2014, amended 2017.
Croatia
Yes
Voters who cannot vote in-person due to the state of their health are eligible. Voting is conducted on election day.
Article 83, Parliamentary Elections Act of 2003, amended 2015.
Cyprus
No
 
 
Czech Republic
Yes
In presidential elections, voters who reside in a medical institution, are incarcerated, or who have “serious, especially health or family related, reasons” are eligible. Voting is conducted on election day.
 
In parliamentary elections, all voters are eligible. Voting is conducted on election day.
Section 32 and Section 41, Act 275 of 18 July 2012 on Election of the President of the Republic.
 
Section 19, Act No. 275 of 27 September 1995 on Elections to the Parliament of the Czech Republic.
Denmark
Yes
Voters who reside in a medical institution or are incarcerated are eligible. Voting is conducted within the last three weeks prior to election day but not later than on the last weekday preceding election day.
Section 54 and Section 56, Folketing Elections Act of 1987, amended 2014.
Estonia
Yes
Voters in inpatient care at medical or social welfare institutions or are homebound due to the state of their health are eligible. Voting is permitted on days specified by the electoral act between the tenth and fourth days preceding the election day.
Section 38, Section 45 and Section 46, Riigikogu Election Act of 2002, amended 2017.
Finland
Yes
Voters who are homebound due to the state of their health are eligible. Voting is permitted from the eleventh day preceding election day until the fifth.
Section 48 and Section 55, Election Act of 1998, amended 2016.
France
No
 
 
Georgia
Yes
Voters who are unable to vote in person due to health problems, incarceration, inpatient treatment in a medical institution, employment with the military or at a detention facility, or the remoteness of their location are eligible. Voting is conducted between 09:00 and 19:00 on election day. Mobile ballot boxes are to be returned to an electoral precinct not later than 20:00.
Article 33 and Article 66, Election Code of 2011, amended 2017.
Germany
No
 
 
Greece
No
 
 
Hungary
Yes
Voters who are unable to vote in person due to health problems or incarceration are eligible. Voting is conducted on election day. Mobile ballot boxes are to be returned to their respective polling stations not later than 19:00.
Section 103 and Section 184, Act on Electoral Procedure of 2013.
Iceland
Yes
Voters who are unable to vote in person due to health problems or childbirth are eligible. Voting is permitted not earlier than within the eight weeks preceding election day.
Article 57 and Article 58, Act No. 24 from 16 May 2000 Concerning Parliamentary Elections to the Althing.
Ireland
Yes
Voters who are unable to vote in person due to residence in a healthcare institution or other health problems are eligible. Voting is conducted on election day.
Section 17 and Section 82, Electoral Act of 1992, amended 2017.
Italy
Yes
Voters who are unable to vote in person due to serious health issues are eligible. Voting is conducted on election day.
Law 7 May 2009, n. 46, ‘Modifiche all’articolo 1 del decreto-legge 3 gennaio 2006, n. 1, convertito, con modificazioni, dalla legge 27 gennaio 2006, n. 22, in materia di ammissione al voto domiciliare di elettori affetti da infermità che ne rendano impossibile l’allontanamento dall’abitazione’ (Access to the vote from home of electors with illness who cannot leave home).
Latvia
Yes
Voters who are unable to vote in person due to health problems and their caretakers are eligible. Voting is conducted on election day.
Section 24, Saeima Election Law of 1995, amended 2014.
Liechtenstein
No
 
 
Lithuania
Yes
Voters who are unable to vote in person due to health problems or age are eligible. Voting is conducted on the Wednesday and Thursday before election day.
Article 671, Law on Elections to the Seimas of 1992, amended 2016.
Luxembourg
No
 
 
Malta
No
 
 
Moldova
Yes
Voters who cannot come to the polling station themselves for health or “other good reasons” are eligible. Voting takes place on election day.
Central Electoral Commission Instruction 3391
Monaco
No
 
 
Montenegro
No
 
 
Netherlands
No
 
 
North Macedonia
Yes
Voters who are unable to vote in person due to health reasons or incarceration are eligible. Voting is conducted one day before election day.
Article 111 and Article 113, Electoral Code of 2006, amended 2019.
Norway
No
 
 
Poland
No
 
 
Portugal
Yes
Voters who are unable to vote in person due to inpatient care in a medical institution or incarceration are eligible. Voting is conducted between the tenth and the 13th days before election day.
Article 79-C, Law Governing Elections to the Assembly of the Republic of 1979, amended 2015.
Romania
Yes
Voters who are unable to vote in person due to health reasons or incarceration are eligible. Voting is conducted on election day.
Article 42 and Article 711, Regulations on the Elections to the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate of 2008.
 
Article 196, Regulations on the Election of the President of Romania of 2009.
Russia
Yes
Voters who are unable to vote in person due to remoteness of location are eligible. Voting is conducted no earlier than 20 days before election day for those residing within the territory of the Russian Federation and 15 for those residing outside the territory.
Article 82, Federal Law On Elections of Deputies to the State Duma of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation of 2014, amended 2016.
 
Article 70, Federal Law on the Election of the President of the Russian Federation of 2003, amended 2011.
San Marino
No
 
 
Serbia
Yes
Voters that expect to be unable or prevented to vote in person are eligible. Voting is conducted on election day.
Article 72a, Law on the Election of Members of the Parliament 2000, amended 2011.
Slovakia
Yes
Voters with “serious reasons, in particular of health” are eligible. Voting is conducted on election day.
Section 24, Act on the Conditions of Electoral Law of 2014, amended 2015.
Slovenia
Yes
Voters who are homebound due to the state of their health are eligible. Voting is conducted on election day.
Article 83, Law on Elections to the National Assembly of 1992, amended 2006.
Spain
No
 
 
Sweden
Yes
Voters who are unable to vote in person due to health problems or old age are eligible. Votes may be received no earlier than on the 18th day prior to election day.
Chapter 7 and Chapter 10, Elections Act of 2005, amended 2014.
Switzerland
No
 
 
Turkey
Yes
Voters who are homebound due to the state of their health are eligible. Voting is conducted on election day.
Article 14.17, Law on Basic Provisions on Elections and Voter Registers of 1961, amended 2018.
Ukraine
Yes
Voters who are homebound due to the state of their health are eligible. Voting is conducted on election day.
Article 86, Law On Elections of the People’s Deputies of Ukraine of 2011, amended 2014.
United Kingdom
No
 
 

 

Proxy Voting

Availability of Proxy Voting in Europe, International IDEA, 2020. 

 

 

Proxy voting is for this dataset defined as cases in which an authorised individual casts or transmits a ballot on behalf of the voter. While proxy voting is generally restricted to special circumstances, some countries allow it for any reason. In most cases, voters must request to vote by proxy in advance and a procedure must be defined for the voters and their proxy to identify themselves. Inclusion of proxy voting can expand options and convenience for certain groups of voters at a low cost to the electoral administration. However, the main challenge with proxy voting is that secrecy of the vote in most cases cannot be maintained (except for Sweden, which requires proxies to deliver votes encased in multiple envelopes, similar to the provisions which maintain secrecy in postal voting), and there is often no way to ensure that proxies vote as instructed. Many countries limit the number of proxies per voter to mitigate any manipulation of votes through proxies (European Commission 2018).

 

Table 4. Availability of Proxy Voting in Europe. 

Country

Is proxy voting available?

Who is eligible and in what timeframe?

Relevant Law

Albania
No
 
 
Andorra
No
 
 
Armenia
No
 
 
Austria
No
 
 
Azerbaijan
No
 
 
Belarus
No
 
 
Belgium
Yes
Only voters that are unable to go in person to a polling station due to health reasons, incarceration, religious convictions, participation in a course of study, professional or service duties, or a temporary stay abroad are eligible. The request and the required certification that the voter is unable to vote in-person must be submitted at the latest on the day preceding the day of election.
Article 147bis, Electoral Code of 1894, amended 2003.
Bosnia and Herzegovina
No
 
 
Bulgaria
No
 
 
Croatia
No
 
 
Cyprus
No
 
 
Czech Republic
No
 
 
Denmark
No
 
 
Estonia
No
 
 
Finland
No
 
 
France
Yes
Only voters that are unable to go in person to a polling station due to health reasons, incarceration, residence in a municipality other than the one where they are registered, professional duties, or a temporary stay abroad are eligible. The request may be made until voting day.
Chapter 4, Section 3, Electoral Code of 1964, amended 2020.
Georgia
No
 
 
Germany
No
 
 
Greece
No
 
 
Hungary
No
 
 
Iceland
No
 
 
Ireland
No
 
 
Italy
No
 
 
Latvia
No
 
 
Liechtenstein
No
 
 
Lithuania
No
 
 
Luxembourg
No
 
 
Malta
No
 
 
Moldova
No
 
 
Monaco
Yes
Only voters that are unable to go in person to a polling station due to health reasons, incarceration, or professional duties are eligible. Deadlines for submission of the request are set through ordinances by the relevant municipality.
Article 43 and Article 43bis, Electoral Code of 1968, amended 2020.
Montenegro
No
 
 
Netherlands
Yes
Voters that do not expect to be able to vote in person are eligible. The request must be submitted no later than the 14th day before polling.
Section L1 and Section L8, Electoral Code of 1989, amended 2009.
North Macedonia
No
 
 
Norway
No
 
 
Poland
Yes
Only voters that are unable to go in person to a polling station due to health reasons or old age are eligible. The request must be submitted no later than the 10th day before polling.
Chapter 7, Election Code of 2011.
Portugal
No
 
 
Romania
No
 
 
Russia
No
 
 
San Marino
No
 
 
Serbia
No
 
 
Slovakia
No
 
 
Slovenia
No
 
 
Spain
No
 
 
Sweden
Yes
Only voters that are unable to go in person to a polling station due to health reasons, old age, remoteness of location, or incarceration are eligible. The request may be submitted no earlier than 24 days prior to the election day.
Chapter 7, Elections Act of 2005, amended 2014.
Switzerland
Yes
All voters are eligible under federal law, but cantons are permitted to set their own regulations for who is eligible. Deadlines for submission of the request are set by the relevant canton. 
Article 5, Federal Act on Political Rights of 1976.
Turkey
No
 
 
Ukraine
No
 
 
United Kingdom
Yes
Only voters that are unable to go in person to a polling station due to health reasons, professional or service duties, or a temporary stay abroad are eligible. The request must be submitted at least six working days before election day in England, Scotland and Wales, and at least 14 working days before election day in Northern Ireland.
Schedule 4, Representation of the People Act 2000.

 

References

Armbruster, E., & Pautsch, A. (2019). Safeguards Against Electoral Fraud vs Accessibility and Citizens' Convenience - Need for Changes in the German Electoral System. Proceedings of the Central and Eastern European E|Dem and E|Gov Days (pp. 71-80). Budapest: Austrian Computer Society.
European Commission. (2018). Study on the Benefits and Drawbacks of Remote Voting. Brussels: European Commission.

About the Author

Research Assistant
Anika Eleni Heinmaa

Anika Heinmaa is a Research Assistant with International IDEA’s Regional Europe Programme, Brussles.