QUITO – Spain is home to the largest concentration of Ecuadorian expatriates who are eligible to vote in the Feb. 4 referendum on President Lenin Moreno’s proposed constitutional changes, election officials said Friday.
“Spain is our largest electoral district abroad,” National Electoral Council chair Nubia Villacis told EFE. “Between Madrid, Seville and Murcia we have a very large Ecuadorian population.”
She said that more than 370,000 expats worldwide are eligible to vote.
As of September 2016, the total number of Ecuadorians living outside the country was 2.02 million, according to figures compiled by the foreign ministry.
The largest contingent by far is in the United States, 1.25 million, while nearly 435,000 Ecuadorians reside in Spain.
The small percentage of expats in the US who are eligible to vote can be attributed to the reluctance of Ecuadorians in the United States to register with Ecuador’s consulates for fear of being arrested by immigration authorities, a foreign ministry official said.
“We have run a number of awareness campaigns to get them to register,” Villacis said.
More than 13 million Ecuadorians will be able to in the referendum.