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October 14, 2016

President Bachelet enacts law on Chileans’ right to vote abroad

► Under new legislation, 450,000 Chileans will be able to vote in presidential elections, presidential primaries and national referendums.

► "The long struggle by our fellow Chileans living overseas to gain recognition of their right to vote is an example for the whole of Chile, especially at a time when low electoral participation is a cloud that overshadows our electoral processes", said the President.

The Interior and Public Security Minister, Mario Fernández, the Foreign Affairs Minister, Heraldo Muñoz, the Minister Secretary General of the Presidency, Nicolás Eyzaguirre and the Finance Minister, Alejandro Micco were in attendance as the President of Chile, Michelle Bachelet enacted a law granting Chileans residing abroad the right to vote.

The initiative, put before Congress in October 2015, is an effect of the Constitutional Reform enacted on April 30, 2014 and represents fulfillment of one of the administration’s government plan promises.

The new law modifies the Organic Constitutional Law on the voter registration system and election services as well as the Law on Elections and Vote Counting. It also modifies the Organic Code on Courts to include electoral violations committed abroad. Effective immediately, the new law gives Chileans residing abroad the right to vote in presidential primaries, national referendums and first and second round presidential elections.

Under the law, 450,000 Chileans abroad will be able to cast their vote in presidential elections, presidential primaries and national referendums.

“So, we are ensuring that, from this point forward, Chileans living abroad will be able to vote in presidential elections, presidential primaries and national referendums”, announced the President.

Under the law, Chileans abroad who would like to vote need only register once at the consulate serving their address. In the event of a change of address, they must re-register with the corresponding consulate.

Chileans residing abroad may also register to vote or change their address through the PDI’s Immigration and International Police command on entering or leaving Chile.

The voting system abroad will be similar to the domestic one and will use the same paper ballots used in Chile.

“We believe that this law honors democracy by allowing every Chilean citizen an opportunity to voice his or her preference in national elections. We are slashing the bonds that limited our democracy while strengthening ties with the sons and daughters of our land. That is what we are doing by enacting this law on Chileans’ right to vote abroad”, she stated.

At the end of her remarks, the President highlighted the efforts related to this law that were put forth by all Chilean citizens residing abroad.

“The long struggle by our fellow Chileans living overseas to gain recognition of their right to vote is an example for the whole of Chile, especially at a time when low electoral participation is a cloud that overshadows our electoral processes”, said the President.

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