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Romanians were also called to vote for a referendum when voting for EU Parliament elections in 2019. However, the organizing for diaspora voting was very problematic and many could not vote at all:

An impressive number of Romanians living and working abroad have come to polls on Sunday to vote at the European elections and at the referendum for justice. Unfortunately, the polling stations were insufficient, and problems were also encountered on the scarce voting stamps, ballot papers or boxes, so that a considerable amount of people did not manage to cast their votes.

I cannot find a source now, but the Foreign Ministry also blamed the referendum for putting extra pressure on the voting polls.

From my perspective "piggyback" (organizing in the same time) a referendum sounds like a great idea since it reduces the costs and also might motivate the voters (they come if they wish to vote for at least one of the elections). However, I am wondering if this practice is heavily used across EU or it rarely happens so.

Question: Is organizing "piggybacked" referendums something unusual in EU? By EU I mean any European Union country.

  • If I understand correctly the Foreign Ministry are saying "everyone who's allowed to vote turning up to vote is a problem". Is that about right? That could really use a source, I hope you do find it. – Jontia Jun 28 at 8:01
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    @Jontia - yes, he said that, but I clearly remember that he blamed the referendum - source (Romanian). – Alexei Jun 28 at 8:05
  • @Jontia - this is a very interesting reference. Thanks. – Alexei Jun 28 at 8:05
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    @katatahito - I mean any elections of a country within EU. I will change to clarify this. – Alexei Jun 28 at 8:27
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+100

TL;DR: No, it's not unusual.

After going going through related wiki pages, I found following instances of referenda being held on same day as any elections.

For purpose of the list ECC (direct predecessor of EU, established in 1957) counts as EU.

While ECC was founded in 1957, first elections to European parliament were held on 1979. This however changes nothing, since question asks about any elections concurrent with referendum, not just European elections.

If bullet point listing example contains more than one link it means that wiki article about referendum referendum concurrent with election does NOT mention this fact, second link is election(s) concurrent with referendum

  1. Austria: 0, 1 referendum since joining EU
  2. Belgium: 0, 0 referenda since joining EU
  3. Bulgaria: 2, 2 referenda since joining EU
  4. Croatia: 0, 1 referendum since joining EU
  5. Cyprus: 0, 0 referenda since joining EU
  6. Czech Republic: 0, 0 referenda since joining EU
  7. Denmark: 3, 9 referenda since joining EU
  8. Estonia: 0, 0 referenda since joining EU
  9. Finland: 0, 0 referenda since joining EU
  10. France: 0, 10 referenda since joining EU
  11. Germany: 0, 0 referenda since joining EU
  12. Greece: 0, 1 referendum since joining EU
  13. Hungary: 0, 3 referenda since joining EU
  14. Ireland: 8, 26 referenda since joining EU
  15. Italy: 1 (6 unverifiable but highly unlikely), 21 referenda since joining EU
    • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1989_Italian_advisory_referendum
    • can not verify 1997, page for local elections in 1997 does not exist
    • can not verify 2000, page for local elections in 2000 does not exist, regional elections of 2000 were NOT on same day
    • can not verify 2001, page for local elections in 2001 does not exist, regional and general elections of 2001 were NOT on same day
    • can not verify 2003, page for local elections in 2003 does not exist, regional elections of 2003 were NOT on same day
    • can not verify 2005, page for local elections in 2005 does not exist, regional elections of 2005 were NOT on same day
    • can not verify 2009, page for local elections in 2009 does not exist, regional and european elections of 2009 were NOT on same day
  16. Latvia: 0, 5 referenda since joining EU
  17. Lithuania: 3, 4 referenda since joining EU
  18. Luxembourg: 0, 2 referenda since joining EU
  19. Malta: 1, 2 referenda since joining EU
  20. Netherlands: 1, 2 referenda since joining EU
  21. Poland: 0, 1 referendum since joining EU
  22. Portugal: 0, 3 referenda since joining EU
  23. Romania: 3, 6 referenda since joining EU
  24. Slovakia: 0 (1 unverifiable but unlikely), 2 referenda since joining EU
    • referendum of 2010 unverifiable, page for local elections of 2010 does not exist, parliamentary elections of 2010 were NOT on same day
  25. Slovenia: 1 (2 unverifiable but highly unlikely), 12 referenda since joining EU
  26. Spain: 0, 2 referenda since joining EU
  27. Sweden: 0, 1 referendum since joining EU
  28. United Kingdom: 1, 3 referenda since joining EU

Summary: I counted 24 referenda happening at the same day as other elections out of total of 120 referenda happening in EU member states until this day. There isn't much of a pattern that I can see. It appears to be dependant on country's tradition (compare France to Denmark and Ireland to Italy) than anything.

  • Not unusual, but not common either. A description that could be applied to referendums in general. – Jontia Jun 28 at 10:10
  • @Jontia Compared to random chance of having election and referendum on same day, I'd hazard a guess that it's rather common. – M i ech Jun 28 at 10:13

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