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Buying votes, a crime that can be punished with years in prison

Electoral crimes are not found in the Spanish Criminal Code, they are contemplated in Section II of the General Law of the Electoral Regime (LOREG). Article 139.8 punishes officials who fail to comply with the procedures established for voting by correspondence with penalties of six months to two years in prison.

The highest penalty for an electoral crime is found in article 140.1 of this regulation, which punishes officials who, abusing their office or position, change, hide or alter the envelope or ballot that the voter delivers when exercising their right (140.1.C) or consent to someone voting two or more times or doing so without legal capacity (140.1.G).

In this law there is an article that directly typifies the offer to buy a vote. In this case (146.1) there is no difference between public officials and private citizens. The article punishes with penalties ranging from six months to three years in prison and a fine of 12 to 24 months for those who, by means of rewards, gifts, remuneration or promises thereof, directly or indirectly request the vote of an elector or induce them to abstain.

The same penalties will be imposed on those who prevent voters from exercising their right to vote with violence or intimidation and for those who prevent or hinder the entry, exit or permanence of voters, candidates, attorneys-in-fact, auditors and notaries of the places where the acts of the electoral procedure are carried out. The second section of this article adds the penalty of special disqualification for public employment or office from one to three years if those who incur in the actions described are public officials.

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