STAFF REPORTER VOTING in the European Elections will take place in Spain today, with 728'689 people in the Balearics eligible to vote at 384 polling stations across the Islands. Doors will open at 9am and close at 8pm.

According to the office of the Central Government delegate in the Balearics, each polling station this year has voting slips allocated to no less than 35 candidatures, resulting in a choice of 25.5 million paper slips having to be available to seal in 731'000 envelopes. Voters are spread out across the region: 575'430 on Majorca, 65'629 on Minorca, 81'714 on Ibiza, and 5'909 on Formentera. There are 303 polling stations on Majorca, 40 on Ibiza, 38 on Minorca and 8 on Formentera.

The census of those eligible to vote has increased from the time when the European Elections last took place in 2004, when there were 35'358 less. The total electorate in the Balearics includes 11'896 Spanish national voters who previously lived in the region but are now voting from overseas and the foreign residents in the Islands who are eligible to vote - over 15'708. The largest groups of non-Spanish nationalities who are entitled to vote today are the Germans (4'881); the British (4'077); the Italians (2'006); and the French (1'296). Security will be tight today - apart from 1'614 security firm professionals, 555 National Police officers, 724 Guardia Civil and 335 Local Police will be making sure that all runs smoothly and safely during the voting period. Those who can't get to polling station because they are invalids or physically incapacitated in some way have been able to apply in advance to the Central Government delegation for ambulance assistance.

There have been 5'296 applications for postal voting while in 2004 there were nearly 600 more.
The voting process will be controlled throughout the day by electoral committees operating in Palma, Manacor and Inca on Majorca, and on Ibiza and Minorca.

Initial results will not be known until 10pm when all polling stations across Europe have closed. The last EU elections in the Balearics were won by the Partido Popular but 62.39 percent of the regional population abstained from voting altogether.