With the General Election looming, millions of people around the globe will once again be robbed of their right to have a say in Ireland’s political destiny. Under Irish law if you are living abroad you cannot be entered into the register of electors. There are some exceptions for Irish diplomats, members of the defense and police forces who can apply for a postal vote if they are abroad in Election Day.
So for countless Irish abroad they are caught in diplomatic limbo. Not able to cast a vote in their homeland, and an immigrant in their new home, the act of voting becomes a thing of the past with your power to exercise your constitutional right stripped. More than 110 countries allow passport holders who live abroad the right to vote, however Ireland is not one of them. If you are not present in Ireland on polling day, then your vote is lost.
In Britain, citizens who registered in the last 15 years can vote abroad in elections for Parliament and European Parliament, but not local elections.
France has tested Internet voting in order to stimulate voter participation. A 2003 law means French voters living overseas are afforded the right to vote electronically, or by mail or at a local embassy or consulate. In Holland citizens abroad can vote by mail or online.
With emigration levels mirroring those of the eighties, a significant proportion of the Irish Diaspora now spread throughout the globe, are unable to cast a vote on Election Day.