Huh? they were handing out free beer and smokes and I missed it
The voting rules are interesting here (in Italy): the voting goes on for two days, Saturday (8am-10pm) and Sunday (7am-3pm). Voters have to present a voter registration card and another valid ID, and vote at the locality they are registered in. One can only vote for a party (put an X on the symbol) and you cannot write in names or put any other marks on the (paper) ballot or it will be discarded.
It was only in the last election that residents abroad were allowed to vote with absentee ballots. This was seen as benefiting the "right-wing" (Berlusconi) gov't. at the time, under the theory that expatriates were less likely to be left or center-left voters. As it was, the Prodi crew got in by a tiny margin in what could be seen as an Italian version of Florida/USA 2000, with accusations of vote-tampering, etc.
An interesting rule (not sure how helpful it is but it could sure save $$) is the par condicio
, which prohibits political TV ads on both public and private channels for the two weeks running up to the elections, and also bars the release of any polling data during this time.
Voting here is also, in theory, compulsory.. though I believe there is little/no enforcement of this and that the worst that could happen is that some official makes some kind of notation of it somewhere. The actual turnouts are usually in the 70s - mid 80s in percentage points, and they are shocked (as am I) at the US turnouts in the 30s and 40s...