US primaries: how to vote as an American expat in Spain

As a week of the "Global Primaries" for expat Americans around the world kicks off on Tuesday, we look at how you can cast your ballot from a continent away.

US primaries: how to vote as an American expat in Spain

Even if you’re living thousands of miles away from the US of A, don’t fret – you can still have your voice heard from abroad.

In-person voting for Democrats in Spain starts this week in the “Global Primaries” just for expats. The Local looks at the fairly simple steps involved in getting you to the presidential vote.

Vote in-person at the Global Primary (if you’re a Democrat)

Unlike Republicans, Democrats who live abroad get their own primary to vote until March 8th with the group Democrats Abroad, which is given state-level recognition in the Democratic National Committee.

There are two ways you can do this. First, you can vote in-person at one of the Democrats Abroad voting centres between Tuesday March 1st and March 8th. You must register as a member to vote and can easily do that at the centre or online beforehand by clicking here. Just bring your US passport along as well as some proof of residency, like your NIE/DNI.

Both Madrid and Barcelona are hosting voting centres this year, so check out the list below for times and locations:


ESERP Business School

Tuesday March 1st , 6.00pm – 9.00pm

Carrer de Girona, 24

08010 Barcelona

Dos Trece Restaurant

Saturday March 5th, 10.00am – 2.00pm

Carrer Carme, 40

08001 Barcelona


Tempo Club

Tuesday March 1st, 7.00pm – 11.00pm

Calle Duque Osuna, 8

Madrid 28015

Casa de Soria (Restaurante Variopintos)

Saturday March 5th, 11.00am – 5.00pm

Sunday March 6th, 11.00am – 5.00pm

Carrera de San Jerónimo, 5. 1º

28014 Madrid


If you can’t get to one of the voting centres, simply print out the ballot online and email it to [email protected] or mail it to:

Sue Burke

Calle Agustín Querol, 6 bis – 6 D

28014 Madrid Spain

For more information, visit the Democrats Abroad Spain website.

Voting absentee with your state

If you're not voting Democrat or simply want to cast your vote in your home state, you first have to register online with the Federal Voting Assistance Program, or The US State Department recommends doing this for those living abroad at the start of each year so you can keep getting ballots sent to you.

Then print, sign and send the resulting form to your state election office. You should get your ballot by mail or electronically (depending on the state) 45 to 30 days before the vote.

What if you don’t have a US address?

Don’t worry! Just register with the last state where you lived most recently before leaving the US.

Plus, 24 states and Washington DC allow American citizens who have never lived in the US to register where a parent is eligible to vote. Find a list of these states here.

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