Amendments to the Electoral Code (Law No. 101/2020, dated 23 July 2020) allowed the possibility for voting from abroad. However, no decision in this regard was formally taken by the CEC. Thus, out-of-country voting was not implemented during Parliamentary Elections of 25 April 2021.
Albania, CEC, Electoral Code (2008, last amended in 5.10.2020), accessed 1 May 2021
Article 24. CEC competencies related to out-of-country voting (amended by Law No. 101/2020, dated 23 July 2020)
1. The CEC shall lead and monitor the preparations to ensure conditions and implementation of measures that enable the out-of-country voting for elections for the Assembly, for voters whose permanent residence is outside the territory of the Republic of Albania, and have their out-of-country permanent residence address registered in the National Civil Status Register, and request from CEC to be equipped with the out-of-country voting documentation.
2. Out-of-country voting shall be organised and managed by the CEC, in all its components, after the Regulator approves all secondary legislation required for out-of-country voting, in accordance with this law.
3. The CEC must take a decision to include the out-of-country voting for the first time in the ordinary voting procedures. In the next elections, out-of-country voting shall automatically become an integral part of the voting procedures.
4. Detailed procedures on out-of-country voting shall be approved by CEC normative act.
Article 25. Out-of-country voting procedure (amended by Law No. 101/2020, dated 23 July 2020)
1. Regardless of the voting procedure, manual or electronic, the out-of-country voters’ ballots shall be administered by the CEC, safeguarding the voting integrity and secrecy of vote from any tempering with the ballot papers or with the electronic voting information it administers.
2. Out-of-country voting shall be considered open from the day the CEC starts the procedures of sending out the voting documentation or the instruction document addressed to out-of-country voters, as applicable. Out-of-country voting shall be closed on the voting day at the time determined by this law to close voting in voting centres. Upon closing the out-of-country voting, the CEC may not accept and count any ballot arriving afterwards. If the out-of-country voting is carried out electronically, the electronic voting system shall be closed at the time determined by this law to close voting in voting centres.
3. Rules on the administration of the election material or the voting information recorded and stored in information technology systems concerning out-of-country voting and pre-election testing and post-election system verification shall be part of the general rules the CEC approves on the administration of the election material or on the use of information technology systems in elections. Legal safeguards on the observation, monitoring, and access to the CEC during the administration of out-of-country ballots and on the testing, verification, and security of election material or information technology systems used for this voting may not be lower as compared to those for in-country voting.
ODIHR, Republic of Albania, Limited Election Observation Mission, Parliamentary Elections, 25 April 2021, Statement of Preliminary Findings and Conclusions, accessed 9 May 2021
“While foreseen as a possibility in the Electoral Code, no out-of-country voting was offered to citizens. Voters residing abroad can however return and vote in their respective VCs, although in practice this may have been hampered by COVID-19 measures.”