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Voting in Chile as a Foreigner

Voting in Chile as a Foreigner

     Some foreigners (non-citizens) can vote in Chile. They have to be permanent residents who have been in the country at least five years that are over the age of 18. Voter registration is automatic and goes according to one’s last known address. You have to be in Chile at your designated precinct to vote. There is no absentee or internet voting, and currently no voting if one happens to be overseas on election day. If you have been in Chile for five years you may already be registered and just do not know it. [image source]

This fact about foreigners being able to vote is little known, and seems unusual by Northern Hemisphere standards. But in Chile, permanent residency is highly regarded, to the point where they have a real say in democratic processes. Other than having to touch the soil once a year to maintain the status, permanent residents are treated in every way the same as citizens. There are regulations for voting that can be seen at this link and this one; and this other link describes the steps for changing one’s electoral address.
     Check this link (enter your RUT number) to see if you are registered to vote and where you have to go to vote. The most libertarian presidential candidate this time around (November 17, 2013 election, and the likely second round in January 2014) is Evelyn Matthei, trained in economics, just in case you are wondering who to vote for. Economics professor and administrator Franco Parisi is the second-best candidate, mainly on account of some of his economic policies, but he overtly favors abortion up to the 10th week of gestation which means that I would never vote for him. Matthei would accept some abortion but has vowed if elected to hold the pro-life line out of respect for her party’s strong position. Thus, given all the candidates, I think we can at the very least hold our noses and vote for Matthei, even though she also holds to some very irritating (vote-seeking) populism for minimum wages, gender gap income equality (which does not work), and stiffer rules for child support collection. She holds herself out to be more of an interventionist than she probably is, in order to gain more votes. While not perfect, she is certainly far better than frontrunner socialist Michelle Bachelet.

     Chile has a new sustainable community starting called Freedom Orchard. Check it out. Invest in it, and diversify out of the decaying assets in “First World” nations. Also, be sure to tune in to Dr. Cobin’s radio program: “Red Hot Chile” at noon (ET) on Fridays on the Overseas Radio Network (ORN). You can login at You can also join the thousands of other people who download the shows each month via the link provided on the ORN website (recorded show updated every Monday morning). Be sure, too, to visit for discussion and forums about the country.
     Dr. Cobin’s book, Life in Chile: A Former American’s Guide for Newcomers, is the most comprehensive treatise on Chilean life ever written, designed to help newcomers get settled in Chile. He covers almost ever topic imaginable for immigrants. This knowledge is applied in his valet consulting service (see, where he guides expatriates through the process of finding a place to live and settle in Chile, helping them glide over the speed bumps that they would otherwise face in getting their visas, setting up businesses, buying real estate, investing in Chilean stocks or gold coins, etc. The cost is $49. If you have problems getting the book through the or site, since the ORN Store is sometimes closed for maintenance, please use the PayPal info noted below.
     Dr. Cobin’s sequel book, Expatriates to Chile: Topics for Living, adds even further depth on important topics to expatriates who either live in Chile already or who have Chile on the short list of countries where they hope to immigrate. The book deals with crucial issues pertaining to urban and rural real estate transactions, natural disasters, issues pertaining to emigration and its urgency, money and the quality of life, medical care and insurance, business opportunities, social manifestations (including welfare state and divorce policy concerns), Chile in the freedom indices, social maladies (lying, cheating, stealing and murder), as well as discussion of a few places worth visiting and some further comments about Santiago. Note: If the link to buy the book at the or site does not appear, since the ORN Store is sometimes closed for maintenance, just send US$39 by PayPal to and send an email or PayPal notice that you have completed your order. A download link will be sent to you directly. 
    The and websites also have Dr. Cobin’s abridged book (56 pages): Chile: A Primer for Expats ($19), or the little book can also be obtained directly by following the aforementioned PayPal steps.

Buy Dr. Cobin’s Public Policy books at

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