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Exercising Your Voting Rights in Belgium: A Comprehensive Guide for Non-Belgians and Young Voters

In Belgium, the right to vote is a fundamental aspect of the democratic process, and it is not limited solely to Belgian citizens. Whether you're a non-Belgian resident or a young voter eager to participate in the electoral process, there are opportunities for you to make your voice heard in the upcoming elections. This comprehensive guide will walk you through the important details you need to know about voting in Belgium.

1. Voting as a Non-Belgian Resident

One might think that only Belgian citizens can cast their votes, but that's not the case. If you're a non-Belgian resident, you also have the chance to participate in elections. Here's how:

  • Municipal Elections (October 13, 2024): Non-Belgians can vote in municipal elections. This means you have a say in local matters that directly affect your community.

  • European Elections (June 9, 2024): If you're an EU citizen living in Belgium, you can participate in the European elections. This gives you the opportunity to elect representatives to the European Parliament.

  • Registration is Key: It's important to note that the right to vote is not automatic for non-Belgian residents. To exercise this right, you must register as a voter. Don't wait; take the initiative and register to make your vote count.

Please visit the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for more information on how to register:

2. Voting as a Young Voter (Ages 16-17)

Young voters, even those as young as 16, have the chance to engage in the democratic process:

  • European Elections (June 9, 2024): Both Belgian citizens and EU citizens aged 16 and above can cast their votes in the European elections. This empowers young voices to influence EU policies.

  • No Automatic Rights: Young voters should be aware that their right to vote doesn't happen automatically. To participate, you must register as a voter, just like any other eligible citizen.

3. The "I ALSO VOTE" Campaign

A vital initiative called "I ALSO VOTE" aims to encourage all potential voters, including non-Belgians and young voters, to take part in elections. This campaign was initially launched during the 2018 local elections and continues to inspire participation.

5. Additional Information

While much of the information provided here is up-to-date, it's important to note that there is no longer a compulsory voting requirement in Flemish municipalities. This means you have the freedom to choose whether or not to vote in these areas.

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