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How and Where to Vote For Costa Rican Expats

Whether living within Costa Rican’s magnificent country or having settled elsewhere on other ventures, there is one thing you can always count on, a tico’s pride. Costa Ricans are proud of who they are and never lose that in their spirit regardless of where they are.

With the upcoming Costa Rican general election on Sunday, February 6, 2022 distance doesn’t matter, many still have an invested interest in who is going to govern their homeland. It wasn’t until 2014’s election when Costa Rican’s living abroad were able to exercise their right to cast their vote.

The voter turnout didn’t yield high results with this newfound opportunity as only 22% of 12,600 registered expat voters (2,772) chose to go to the polls according to the Supreme Elections Tribunal data.

This could have been attributed to many different factors one being that it was the first time Costa Ricans could vote from other countries and there is always confusion with something new. In order to be able to vote, one needed to go to the Costa Rican consulate and register in person as well. Depending on where people were residing this could have been one of the deciding factors in many not making the effort to go out of their way to register.

The Supreme Elections Tribunal (TSE) made things a bit easier for the February 2018 general election with an online registration system. Now Costa Rican expats didn’t have to head out and wait in line to register to vote.  The TSE website provided all the detailed requirements needed before filling out the online registry form to help guide those through the new process.

With interactive maps, it helped to ease the confusion of the nearest Costa Rican consulates and embassies around the world for new voters. You just needed to enter the country and consulate you wanted to vote in and the site would direct you to simplify things for you. With time, familiarity, and widespread media Costa Ricans living abroad were learning they could still have the opportunity to participate in the elections.

There is a large social media presence in Costa Rica’s general election for 2022 with social media campaigns, their informative website, and video tutorials getting the word and procedures out to help increase voter turnout. The TSE website created a separate page for those that were going to be voting overseas.

With this being the third time that those abroad can vote numbers are much higher with TSE November 26, 2021 press release stating 50, 833 voters were registered. TSE has noted that of that statistic 26,038 are men and 24,795 as women. This is a generous increase in comparison to 2018 when ticos registered abroad came in at 31, 864 now with a 59.5% figure increase.

The United States leads the way with the country with the most Costa Rican registered voters with 35, 517. New York tops the list with 14,230 registered voters, 5,536 in Miami, 5,232 in Los Angeles, and 3686 in Atlanta rounding out the top consulates. Canada has 1,507 registered voters followed by Spain with 1,450, Panama with 1,352, Nicaragua with 1,335, and Mexico with 1281 registered Costa Rican voters.

If you are a Costa Rican residing elsewhere and wanting to vote in the 2022 general election you must already be registered and on the list of voters at the consulate that is nearest to where you are living. If you were registered in Costa Rica and living abroad the site lets you check your polling place to see where you are set up.

Located under the Civil Consultations you would simply need to enter your identity card number or full name and follow to the Polling Place to gather the information to see where you are registered.

The TSE website allows you to register online if you were in need of updating your address. An instructional video is provided to clearly walk you through all the steps from start to finish in order to do so. However, the deadline was set to be completed by October 5, 2021, to update your electoral address online.

Changes are not to be permitted 4 months prior to the election. Therefore, at this time there can not be alterations, and is currently suspended. Those that are wanting to vote in the same location as the 2018 election don’t need to be concerned with this deadline.

Costa Rica has 52 consulates authorized in 42 different countries worldwide. Nairobi in Kenya, Jakarta in Indonesia, Abu Dhabi for the United Arab Emirates, and Canberra in Australia were 4 new inclusions for the 2022 Costa Rica general election.

The TSE National Election 2022 site lists all the 42 countries with their 52 consulates as well as a document with all the vote centers with detailed information including their addresses. Those that are casting their vote abroad for the national election, however, are electing for only the President and Vice President positions unlike those that are residing in Costa Rica. If you are needing more information, you can find it at here.

As Sunday, February 6, 2022 approaches in the coming days, it is not just the televisions of Costa Rica that are broadcasting the daily polls and ongoing debates of the upcoming general election. Those around the world still take a keen interest in the ongoings of this desired country. Costa Ricans living abroad have a strong connection to their nation with family, friends, engrained memories, and bonds.

Voting maintains the pride and connection to the one place that made them who they are today. Exercising your right to vote regardless of where you are residing helps pave the future for the generations of Costa Ricans still here. After so many years of Costa Ricans abroad being unrecognized and unable to vote, take the opportunity and cast your vote with pride as you are marking your spot in the country’s new future.

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