More than a million Canadian expatriates are out of luck if they had plans to vote in their home country’s general election on 19 October, thanks to an appeals court ruling. An Ontario Appeals Court ruling issued Monday overturned an earlier victory for two Canadian expatriates who challenged a law barring citizens who have lived outside the country for over five years from voting in Canadian federal elections. That 2014 victory temporarily restored right to cast a ballot to the roughly 1.4 million Canadians of voting age who have lived abroad for five or more years. Gillian Frank and Jamie Duong, both currently living in the US, brought the challenge to the election law after learning they weren’t eligible to vote in the 2011 general election.
In Monday’s split decision, the province’s top court argued that the five-year limit under Canadian law was reasonable and that allowing all expatriates to vote would erode the “social contract” between the resident voter and Parliament.
“Permitting all non-resident citizens to vote would allow them to participate in making laws that affect Canadian residents on a daily basis, but have little to no practical consequence for their own daily lives,” argued Chief Justice George Strathy for the majority.