For generations Mexicans have been moving abroad, mostly to the United States, where they’ve often tried to leave behind the troubled politics of home. “I never considered voting iMexico” after moving to the US, says Sergio Guerrero, a shuttle driver in Houston, who left the central state of Puebla more than two decades ago in search of work. “Why would I vote for the corrupt politicians that created the conditions that [pushed me] to leave in the first place?” Mr. Guerrero asks. But Mexicans abroad play an important role back home, largely in the form of remittances, and, observers say, they are starting to wake up to the influence they can have politically, too.
The Constitutional Court Wednesday reserved judgment in a case in which three Zimbabweans are challenging provisions of the electoral court which prevent Diapsorans from voting in their countries of residency. The case was heard by the full bench of the Constitutional Court with the applications represented by the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) and the Southern Africa Litigation Centre. Applicants are arguing that residency requirements imposed by the Electoral Act contravene the Constitution which provided for political rights allowing every Zimbabwe citizen to participate in political processes, wherever they were.
Leader of the Opposition, Kiriakos Mitsotakis, jumped aboard the ‘diaspora voting rights’ train on Monday, when he presented a draft bill on behalf of his party Nea Dimokratia which proposes how Greeks abroad could vote in the country’s elections. It is the second attempt of the opposition to start this conversation, as the same draft legislation has been dragging in parliament for 18 months without being brought up for vote.
A little over 24,000 overseas Indians, who are entitled to cast their ballot in India, have registered themselves as voters. Now, in a bid to attract more such Indian citizens living abroad to become voters here, the Election Commission has launched a portal which allows them to register online. The portal also has a long list of frequently asked questions to help people understand the procedure. While there are no estimates on the number of overseas Indians eligible to vote in India, only 24,348 have registered with the poll panel.
The large non-resident Indian community in the US has welcomed the recent decision of the Union Cabinet to extend proxy voting to overseas Indians. “We welcome this move,” Thomas Abraham, chairman of the Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO) said. Still an Indian citizen, despite having obtained a green card for more than four decades now, Mr Abraham said the decision of the Indian government in this regard is a dream come true for people like him and many others. The Election Commission of India (EC) estimates that there are about 16 million Indian citizens living outside of which about 70 per cent are eligible to vote. While the significant portion of them are in the Middle east, in the US the estimate range from 800,000 to 1.5 million. An overwhelming majority of them are young, either university students or those on H-1B visas.
Editorials: It matters that Nigerians in diaspora want the rights to vote for our leaders | Cynthia Okoroafor/Ventures
Ahead of the Diaspora Day celebrations scheduled for tomorrow, July 25, and with a view of the next defining round of general elections, about 17 million Nigerians in diaspora are pushing for their rights to participate in the political endeavours of the country by way of casting votes where it matters – our leadership. Although the existing merits and logistical concerns to consider in pursuing this desire might strain the possibilities, it is realisable and should be a key concern of the Nigerian government for reasons which include progress and inclusion. Unlike their around 30 counterparts across the continent, including Benin, Mozambique, Senegal, and Mali, Nigerians in diaspora are constitutionally unable to contribute to electoral activities in the country and are demanding a change. Their argument for the cause lies in their interest and commitment to the development of the country, and their present and potential contributions to the objective thus far.
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo says voting right will soon be extended to Nigerians in Diaspora. Osinbajo stated this while declaring open a two-day 2015 Diaspora Day Conference organised by the Office of the Secretary to the Government of Federation yesterday in Abuja. “Our electoral process is evolving and as greater confidence is built in the institutions and processes associated with it, we may then create voting opportunities for our citizens abroad in the not too distant future”, he said.
For the first time in Turkey’s history, Turkish citizens who live in a foreign country will be able to vote in the elections. Turkey’s envoy to Berlin says that the number of voters is 3 million. This is a significant number given that it corresponds with 7 percent of the total number of voters, and the winner is determined by a small margin in the second round of the presidential elections. Unfortunately, we are not well prepared for these elections, which will take place abroad for the first time. I believe that there will be many problems in how the election is handled and carried out. Half of the voters in Europe live in Germany (1.4 million). Five hundred ballot boxes are reserved for these voters. It appears that there will be 3,000 voters for each box, the voters will have to sign up for a time to vote and the boxes will be stationed in predominantly Turkish areas.