The voting for the election of the new neighbourhood councils ‘Consulte’ of Reggio Emilia, Italy closed on Monday 5th December. Out of 245 candidates, 124 were elected.
Greetings of candidates and opening of election week on November 25th, 2022 at Tricolore Hall, Reggio Emilia
What is Consulte?
Reggio Emilia is divided into 9 area councils, each aggregates neighbourhoods and hamlets with similar characteristics and needs.
The neighbourhood councils ‘Consulte’ are made up from representative inhabitants of these 9 areas, self-nominated and elected by their fellow citizens to act as intermediaries between the municipality, the neighbourhoods, and districts to discuss on critical issues, proposals, requests and solutions. The main function of the Consulte is to represent the interests of neighborhoods in its collaboration with the administration on the planning of public policies, and to ensure that such policies are concretely implemented within the official planning and control acts of the municipality.
The Council is made up of an elective component – this election, and a non-elective one – comprised of representatives from different policy fields (citizenship workshops, third sector, informal citizens’ groups, schools, religious units, representative associations including employers’ associations, trade unions, etc.).
How has Reggio Emilia accommodated for more accessible and inclusive voting?
Instead of hosting an election day, Reggio Emilia opted for a 10-day voting period. This, coupled with the possibility of online voting has allowed 353 people to vote even at unconventional times, between 11 pm and 8 am. In addition, the city extended its voting right beyond the citizens of Reggio Emilia to its residents, and also to the youth from 16 and above.
To encourage and increase participation, communication actions to support and accompany the vote were carried out for the marginalised groups within the population, especially those with a significant digital divide. Thinking precisely of those who could have difficulties accessing digital tools or using them independently, the city offered technical assistance in all voting points while guaranteeing the privacy protection. Through this, Reggio Emilia hoped to turn digitisation from a potential barrier for participation into an enabling tool for everyone.
What are the results of the election?
"It was an important moment of participation for Reggio Emilia"
From an initial list of 245 candidates, 124 were elected.
Out of 146099 citizens entitled to vote, there were a total of 5251 voters across all 9 areas of Reggio Emilia – 2674 females at an average age of 51.9 and 2577 males at an average age of 52.9. In addition to adults, the youth and residents without citizenship were also among voters.
"We are very satisfied with the level of participation registered from the voting for the new Consulte” – commented Lanfranco de Franco, the Councillor for Participation and Neighbourhoods – “5251 people taking actions to vote for their representatives is a beautiful message of confidence in this new project, as well as the 245 candidates who have made themselves available in the recent weeks. It was not easy to reactivate mechanisms of neighbourhood representation 13 years after the last district elections and without the possibility of organising an “institutional” election with a national communication drive, but this outcome confirms that there was a desire and need to rebuild these spaces for dialogues between the municipal administration and neighbourhoods. It was an important moment of participation for Reggio Emilia, which we will now follow up with the choice of representatives of the local realities and the launch of the work of the Consulte at the beginning of 2023”.
The first months of 2023 will therefore see the final composition of the Consulte with also the presence of the non-elective parts.
The list of the elected councils and the initial candidates can be found here: comune.re.it/consulte