In the 2012 Catalan elections the turnout among the Catalan community living abroad dropped to 7%, a figure that is rather poor. The reason was the change in the electoral law and the negligence of some civil servants in facilitating procedures, a combination of circumstances that resulted in a flood of complaints and a certain organizational chaos. With this learning experience behind them, Catalan institutions have gone on the alert well in advance so that the same thing doesn´t happen again on 27-S, and at the moment it seems that the procedures are working better, probably because the Foreign Ministry does not want any doubt about the cleanliness of the elections, even in an area that, quantitatively, might seem unimportant. And it is, because of the almost 200,000 citizens that make up the Catalan community abroad, participation is not expected to exceed 10%, or some 20,000 votes. Nevertheless, in a scenario as difficult to predict as that of 27-S, in which a few tenths of a percent could decide the result, the overseas vote might be decisive.
So it is not surprising that the pro-independence organizations have also mobilized to address doubts and detect problems where they may arise. The data indicate that the profile of Catalans abroad is becoming younger, and as such more motivated to participate in the future of their country. The data from 2012 also showed that the vote abroad is more pro-independence than the domestic vote, so those who favor independence have an additional incentive to encourage their participation.
But the most important thing is that the vote abroad is a magnificent test to check on the proper functioning of Spanish democracy, which has been affected in the past by scandals regarding the manipulation of overseas votes in Galicia and the Balearic Islands. Spain knows that it is immersed in an image battle with Catalonia, which is claiming the right to decide its future by means of the ballot, and it knows that it cannot raise doubts in this regard. This fact must be taken advantage of to achieve a record turnout among Catalans abroad, a way of showing the world their commitment to their nation.