When we moved to Ecuador we had no idea where in Ecuador we would be settling. So when our attorney asked what address do you wish to use on our paperwork, both Joe and I just shrugged… and she used her address in Quito. With all the hubbub over Expat Residents having to vote earlier this month, I went to the local office of Consejo National Electoral – Delegacion Provincial de Santa Elena to get some information. This office is located in the Centro de Atención building about one block away from the Paseo Shopping Center.
They only make address changes in March and October so we will be going into the office in October to correct our address. To do this you are required to bring three copies of your cedula, your censo and your passport. Along with three copies of your lease or a utility bill. What I was told is that until an Expat has lived in Ecuador for five years, you cannot vote and after five years it is optional to do so. The interesting thing is that for Ecuadorians, not only do they have the right to vote but that it is compulsory. According to an article I read, voting is mandatory for literate Ecuadorians between the ages of 18 and 65 years old residing in Ecuador. Voting is optional for the illiterate and for senior citizens over the age of 65. As I mentioned, as permanent residents we will have the option to vote after we have been here 5 years. Pretty cool! Active military are not able to vote according to the article. This all came up because we found out that our names appear on the voting rolls in Quito and, as such, were originally told by our consulate that meant we were required to vote. To see if you are on the voting list go to: http://app.cne.gob.ec/lugarvotacion/ put your cedula number in the blank and press consulta.
The above flyer is found on the reception window in the electoral office – the last exception loosely translates to: Foreign residents are required to live for five years in Ecuador before they can vote.