Belgium organised its last local elections on 14 October 2012.
For the elections of 14 October 2012, 13.5% of EU citizens in Brussels were on the electoral register.
Non-Belgians also have the right to vote, but to do so they had to enrol in the electoral register before a certain date, usually three months before election day. In the Brussels-Capital Region 26,150 EU citizens (13.57%) enrolled, as well as 8022 non-EU citizens (15.47%). You can find the exact figures for each commune on the following map. Despite the many information campaigns, the number of non-Belgian voters that use their right to vote in local elections remains limited. Many potential voters are frightened off by Belgium’s compulsory voting system, which they then become part of.
Why should I vote?
You live and work in Belgium. Sometimes you are proud of your environment and sometimes it irritates you. You are aware of what works well and what could be improved. Your opinion counts! Let your voice be heard in local elections.
The powers of the municipalities' in Belgium are quite broad. They make decisions that have a direct impact on our daily lives: the construction of roads and squares, parking policies, waste management, housing, education, culture, sport, security and much more. Some concrete examples.
EU citizens are entitled to vote in local elections. Do you want a say in your municipality's future? Then do not forget to register to vote for the local elections.
EU citizens must meet four criteria:
- Be a national of one of the Member States of the European Union.
- Live in a Belgian municipality and be registered in the population or aliens register before a certain data, usually three months before election day.
- Be at least 18 years old on election day.
- Be registered to vote.
Non-European citizens can also vote in local elections, subject to different criteria. More info.
Register to vote.
- Download the REGISTRATION FORM --- FRENCH - DUTCH.
- Complete the form and submit it to your municipality before a spefic date, usually three months before election day. You can return the document by post. Click here for the addresses of 19 municipalities.
- The form is available in French and Dutch. In the Brussels Region you can complete it in both languages, in Flanders you have to complete it in Dutch and in Wallonia in French.
Can I still vote in my own country?
Yes, if you take part in local elections in Belgium, you are still entitled to vote in all elections in your own country.
- However, if you aren't registered in a municipality in your home country, you will probably not be asked to vote in local elections (which municipality would you vote for?). This doesn't mean you aren't allowed to vote for national or European elections in your home country.
- If you are registered in a municipality in your home country AND in a Belgian municipality, you can vote for local elections in both countries.
- There is one exception: Irish people living abroad lose their right to vote in their home country for all elections and referenda. This is always the case, it doesn't make any difference if they register to vote in Belgium or not.
What happens if I am abroad or ill on the day of the elections?
No worries, you can provide another voter with a power of attorney to vote on your behalf. The power of attorney form is available in french and dutch.
Can I get a fine if I don't vote?
Once registered, voting is compulsory. According to the law, you can get a reprimand or a fine between 25 and 50 euros if you don't vote. However, in practice there is a certain tolerance and fines are rarely given.
I voted in the previous local elections. Do I have to register again?
No, your registration is still valid. Municipal elections are held every six years.
Does my registration stays valid if I move to another Belgian municipality?
Your registration is automatically transferred to your new municipality, even if it is located in another region. If you are not registered in your new municipality by a specific date, usually trhee months before election day, you will have to vote in your former municipality.
I am registered but I no longer wish to vote.
You can simply request to be removed from the register of voters. This is impossible in the period between the deadline for enrolment and the actual day of the elections, but it is possible afterwards.
What if I voted in Belgium in the European elections?
You also have to register for local elections. These are two different procedures.
Can I stand as a candidate in local elections?
Yes, EU citizens can be elected and potentially even become aldermen. However, EU citizens can't become mayor.
What happens once I'm registered to vote?
You will receive an official notice confirming your registration. Some weeks before the day of the elections you will receive a notification to attend. On the day of the elections, you have to take this notification and your identity card with you to the polling station.
- Call 02 280 00 80 or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Useful website: http://bruxelleselections2012.irisnet.be/.
- Do you live in Flanders? Click here.
- Do you live in Wallonia. Click here.