The forthcoming European Parliamentary elections, in which voters will choose the next 705 representatives, are scheduled between the 23rd and 26th of May 2019.

For now, the European Union is expected to prove its worth to several of its members and also proclaim its prominence to its neighbors.

The EP is the world’s only transnational parliament that is directly elected. It has powers over crucial decisions such as selecting the new president of the European Commission, how public money is spent through the EU’s common budget and how the single market is regulated. The incumbent European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker says he will not seek reelection.

What to expect from an election management perspective?

  • Before the electoral process commences, citizens can still expect quite a lot to happen, but at the moment, only projections can help envision what the new parliament will look like. Nevertheless, data generated from public opinion polls or predictions from votes in member’s general elections may not be sufficiently reliable references in the EP elections case.
  • Practical details of the electoral process depend on national laws and could undergo changes under the authority of each member state. Countries might have different voting obligations, minimum voting age, and election systems.
  • Up to 2018, the seats would be calculated based on the proportional representation in a national list style of voting. However, some countries elect members of parliament through constituencies. For instance, Ireland or countries such as Belgium, elect through electoral colleges. This could make a difference in the outcomes during EU elections as parties may not be competing for a similar share of the vote.
  • A new EU electoral law has been recently passed. The three main focus regarding election management are new provisions for preventing ‘double voting,’ proposing an obligatory threshold for constituencies with more than 35 seats, and the right of member states to allow different forms of voting, including internet voting.

Better support for online voting

According to a recent survey by the European Commission, most Europeans agree with their states offering online voting for citizens living in another EU country.  Out of 27,000 respondents, 42 percent said they would prefer to vote online in their countries’ national elections, compared with 27 percent preferring to vote in an embassy/consulate, and 19 percent preferring to vote by post.

A WebRoots Democracy review of the survey highlights not only the European preference for having the option to vote online but also the voters’ concern regarding social media transparency.  With the European Parliamentary elections soon approaching, it will be critical to monitor the real commitment of member states and the bloc’s authorities to tackle the voter’s challenges and requirements.

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