Polish prime minister Mateusz Morawiecki has announced the dates of this year’s local elections. Here’s what you need to know if you’re interested in participating in Krakow’s democratic process.
Can I vote?
Obviously, most Polish citizens age 18 or older can vote.
If you are a citizen of the EU (who is 18 or older and can vote in your country of origin), congratulations! You can vote on some things: Krakow president (mayor) and city council.
If you don’t fall into either of these categories, sorry – you can stop reading. (You still have to pay taxes, though.)
When are the local elections?
The first round of votes will take place on Sunday, October 21, with the runoff two weeks later on Sunday, November 4.
It may seem like a long way away, but if you’re interested in voting then you may need to take some steps to get ready for the big day.
How can I register to vote?
It depends on your situation. In this section we’ll be talking about zameldowanie: registration of residency in a Polish city.
If you don’t have zameldowanie, we recommend getting it even if you don’t plan to vote. Although there are no penalties for not having it, it’s easy, technically required by law, and makes some other things in Poland easier, like getting a Krakow City Card (and the benefits that come with it).
I’m a Polish citizen with zameldowanie in Krakow
You should be registered to vote. On election day you just need your ID card, student card, or another valid form of ID with a recent photo (like driving license or social security card).
I’m a foreigner living in Krakow permanently
First, make sure you have zameldowanie in Krakow (see above).
Once you have zameldowanie, you need to fill out a form called wniosek o wpisanie do rejestru wyborców (application for enrollment in the voting registry) along with a declaration. (Clicking on these links will prompt you to download PDFs of these documents from the city’s website).
Two things you need to know:
- If you’re a foreigner,
cross outthe “A” at the top of the wniosek (application) where it says “CZĘŚCI A/B”
- If you don’t have a PESEL number, you can use the number of your passport or another valid, official photo ID instead.
Where to submit the paperwork? If you remember where you got your zameldowanie, it’s the same office: Referat Ewidencji Ludności i Dowodów Osobistych.
If you’re not sure, first you need to know your district. You can search here. Enter “Krakow” in the “Miejscowość” box and your street address in the “Ulica” box, then look for “Dzielnica” (District).
Your district corresponds to a number:
- Stare Miasto (I)
- Grzegórzki (II)
- Prądnik Czerwony (III)
- Prądnik Biały (IV)
- Krowodrza (V)
- Bronowice (VI)
- Zwierzyniec (VII)
- Dębniki (VIII)
- Łagiewniki-Borek Fałęcki (IX)
- Swoszowice (X)
- Podgórze Duchackie (XI)
- Bieżanów-Prokocim (XII)
- Podgórze (XIII)
- Czyżyny (XIV)
- Mistrzejowice (XV)
- Bieńczyce (XVI)
- Wzgórza Krzesławickie (XVII)
- Nowa Huta (XVIII)
You need to take both completed forms, a valid photo ID (like your passport), and a photocopy of that ID to the appropriate Referat Ewidencji Ludności i Dowodów Osobistych, depending on which district you live in:
- Districts I-VII: al. Powstania Warszawskiego 10, Centrum Administracyjne
- Districts VIII-XIII: ul. Wielicka 28a
- Districts XIV-XVIII: os. Zgody 2
The bureaucrats in the office may not speak English, so you might want to bring a friend.
The office will consider your application and alert you by mail at the address you provided if you have been accepted into the Krakow voter roll. They should make a decision within three days.
Then, on election day, you just need to bring the ID that you used to register.
I’m a Pole or foreigner with zameldowanie outside of Krakow, and I don’t want to change it
The process is similar to the above section, with a few changes.
First, in the wniosek document (the first document linked above):
- If you’re a Polish citizen,
cross outthe B where it says “CZĘŚCI A/B”. If you’re an EU citizen from outside of Poland, cross out the “A.”
- Put the address where you have zameldowanie, or where you most recently had it.
Then, in the deklaracja (the second document linked above), put the address where you intend to actually vote from.
When you go to the Referat Ewidencji Ludności i Dowodów Osobistych (see previous section), bring some proof of your current residence in Krakow, like your flat contract with the owner or the title to your property.
Stay tuned for:
- Krakow Post voting guides on the candidates and parties so you can make an informed decision
- A guide to what your ballot will look like, how to fill it correctly, and how it will be counted
- More information on where to find your polling station, or how to vote if you’re disabled or will be out of town on election day
Is there anything else you’d like to see? Let us know in the comments.