On the face of it, Enda Kenny’s commitment to extending the vote to the Irish diaspora in presidential elections sounds worthwhile and deserved. Such a generous gesture to Irish citizens living abroad also seems relatively straightforward, giving effect to one of the recommendations made by the Constitutional Convention. The franchise for the diaspora could start as early as 2025 if the optimism of the Taoiseach, Minister of State for the Diaspora Joe McHugh and other Ministers is to be believed. But such a fundamental change is fraught with logistical challenges, carries a big price tag and will raise a host of niggling ethical issues, as well as political headaches for parties other than Sinn Féin.
Well in excess of 100 countries allow their citizens to vote in domestic elections. For example, anything between three million and nine million Americans living abroad – the figures are not collated – voted in last November’s US presidential election.
Citizens of the UK and France living abroad are also entitled to vote in their parliamentary and presidential elections respectively.
However, in almost all instances, some restrictions apply. In some countries, citizens abroad are not allowed to vote in all elections, just second-tier elections.
Full Article: Diaspora voting proposals raise ethical and political issues.