Here we go again! I accepted the candidacy for the Italian House (Camera) with the PDL/Centrodestra (center-right) Party for the upcoming Parliamentary elections. No longer an independent, like in 2006. It is better to be with a “studio” (e.g., a big political party).
Now, the voting in Italy is Feb. 24-25, 2013. However, Italians around the world, will receive the absentee ballots by February 9 (mailed on Feb. 6) and need to mail them back around February 18 so that they’ll be received by the various Italian Consulates by February 21. The consulates will then ship the ballots received to Rome to be counted on election days.
This system is a bit different from what French citizens living outside of France do for their elections: Instead of voting by mail, they set up polling booths inside their consulates. Others countries, such as Australia and Ireland, use variations of the two. But for all (over a dozen different countries) the requirement is that the voters are citizens (and many are dual-citizens).
My electoral district is North and Central America, which includes Canada, the U.S., Mexico and Central America. In my area, five political parties are competing for one senatorial seat and two deputy seats. In Europe and South America there are more parties in competition, but not as many as there are in Italy (which could reach as many as 30).
Voting overseas is also different from what it is done in Italy. Here, for example, the party that wins can send the candidate who receives the most votes — among four competitors on the same ticket — to fill the seat in the House. For the senate the competition on the same ticket is between two candidates.
In effect, my race is first among the other parties, and, if my party wins, among the other three competitors.
In our case, a supporter can vote just for me and give two votes: One to me and one to the party. If, on the other hand, the supporter votes just for the party, only the party gets the vote (which is important in order to get its top vote-getter elected).