A Conservative victory at the UK general elections means the UK will now be expected to hold to a pledge to end the 15-year limit on the expat vote. That was one of the party’s main promises to Britons overseas, and it was the only party to offer it unequivocally. However, the Conservatives will also now be expected to follow through with another policy likely to divide expats much more – an in/out referendum on the EU, by the end of 2017. The party has not clarified if it would give the vote back to long-term expats in time to take part in it.Full Article: Conservative win means end in sight for 15 year expat voting limit – The Connexion.
British expats around the world have complained that they’ve not received their ballot papers in time for their postal votes to count in Thursday’s general election. Reports from as far afield as France, Brazil and the United States emerged this week of the problem, which has left expats “damn cheesed off” according to one campaigner. Brian Cave, 82, who has lived in south eastern France for 17 years, runs a blog focusing on expat voting rights.Full Article: General election 2015: Expats in uproar over missing ballot papers ahead of Thursday's poll - Telegraph.
PRIME Minister Mizengo Pinda has said that Tanzanians living in the Diaspora will not be eligible to vote in the General Election to be held in October, this year. He said that there are various things that the government will have to first implement to enable them to vote. Mr Pinda said this on Saturday night while addressing a gathering of Tanzanians living in the United Kingdom at the residence of Tanzania’s Ambassador to UK, Peter Kallaghe, at Highgate, south of London.Full Article: DailyNews Online Edition - Tanzanians in Diaspora will not vote in October polls - Pinda.
James Jackson, 71, does not have the right to vote in the UK, having become a victim of the rule preventing Britons from voting at home once they’ve been out of the country for 15 years. However, nothing in law stops him standing as a Parliamentary candidate in the general election, so he plans to throw his hat in the ring as a candidate for the safe Tory seat of Uxbridge and South Ruislip. In an interview with the getwestlondon news website, Mr Jackson said: “This Kafkaesque situation means that, theoretically, I could win a parliamentary seat and take my place in the House of Commons, despite living abroad and not having a vote.” The website reported that Mr Jackson formerly lived in Colwyn Bay, North Wales, working as treasurer of the former Colwyn Borough Council. He left the UK in 1996 to work as an internal auditor/treasurer for the Falkland Islands government and later retired to live in Narbonne, southern France.Full Article: Expat standing in general election to highlight vote ban injustice - Telegraph.
The Electoral Commission has launched an ambitious drive to persuade 100,000 British expats to join the UK voting register ahead of the general election on May 7. However, pro-democracy campaigners say Britons abroad are annoyed with politicians at home over topics such as frozen pensions and winter fuel payments being cut – so they may not heed the call. Only 15,849 of the estimated 5.5 million Britons overseas were signed up to vote in UK elections as of March 2014, according to the commission. The last recruitment drive – aimed at adding 25,000 expats to the voters’ roll in the weeks before the European and local elections last May – fell flat. Only 7,079 signed up.Full Article: UK drive to recruit 100,000 expat voters - Telegraph.
India: Expats To Be Allowed To Vote Through Absentee Ballot, Court Rules | International Business Times
India’s Supreme Court, the country’s highest court, on Monday asked the government to allow Non-Resident Indians (NRIs), or Indian citizens living abroad, to vote remotely. This would mean that Indians living in foreign countries would be allowed to vote from their country of residence. Until now, Indian citizens living abroad have had to travel back home in order to exercise their franchise, something not many people do. India had given voting rights to NRIs in 2010. Under the new system — e-voting — a blank postal ballot paper is emailed to the voter, who has to then fill it and send it to their constituency via post, according to a report by NDTV, a local news network. India already allows on-duty defense personnel and certain categories of government officers and exiled Kashmiri Hindus to cast their vote remotely. The apex court has reportedly said that the proposed e-voting mechanism, which could require a constitutional amendment, should be implemented within eight weeks.Full Article: Indian Expats To Be Allowed To Vote Through Absentee Ballot, Country's Apex Court Rules.
The right of long-term expats to vote in federal elections goes before Ontario’s top court Tuesday, as Ottawa fights a ruling that struck down part of Canadian voting laws. Barring Canadians from voting — in this case, those who have lived abroad for more than five years — is a justified restriction in a free and democratic society, the government argues. “The residence limit to voting ensures the connection of the citizen to the place where he or she casts their vote,” the government states in its factum. “That is the social contract at the heart of our system of constitutional democracy.” In May last year, Ontario Superior Court Justice Michael Penny ruled that parts of the Canada Elections Act — which became law in 1993 — were unconstitutional.Full Article: Ontario Court of Appeal to weigh restrictions on expats’ voting rights | Toronto Star.
Despite longstanding promises that the Irish government would this week debate and decide on the question of a presidential vote for Irish living abroad, they have failed to do so. Sinn Féin Senator Trevor Ó Clochartaigh criticized the government for failing the Irish diaspora again, by not following up on their commitment to implement the Constitutional Convention’s recommendation to hold a referendum on voting rights in Presidential elections for Irish citizens abroad.Full Article: Irish government accused of blocking Irish diaspora vote referendum - IrishCentral.com.
A Bill to restore voting rights to all British expatriates before next year’s general election was given permission by MPs to move to the next stage of the process today. Although a date was set for the second reading of the Bill, on March 6, it is thought unlikely that it will be successfully passed into law due to the slim window of time before Parliament is dissolved ahead of the general election in May. Geoffrey Clifton-Brown, a Conservative MP, raised the matter in the Commons today, urging MPs from all parties to support his efforts to get the current ’15-year rule’ abolished as soon as possible. The rule blocks Britons overseas from voting in UK elections if they have been out of the country for longer than 15 years. In his speech, made under the Ten Minute Rule – a procedure that allows MPs to seek the leave of the house to introduce a Bill – Mr Clifton-Brown said the ban on voting affects an estimated one million of the 5.5 million Britons living overseas.Full Article: Bill to restore expat voting rights clears first hurdle in Commons - Telegraph.
A Conservative MP will make a last-ditch attempt tomorrow to get the 15-year rule affecting British expats abolished before next year’s general election. The rule blocks Britons overseas from voting in UK elections if they have been out of the country for longer than 15 years. Geoffrey Clifton-Brown will make a speech under the Ten Minute Rule – a procedure that allows MPs to seek the leave of the house to introduce a Bill – seeking to restore the vote to all British citizens. Mr Clifton Brown will ask “that leave be given to bring in a Bill to allow British citizens resident overseas for more than 15 years to vote in UK parliamentary elections and referendums, and for connected purposes”. However, he expects that this will be opposed by Labour and the Liberal Democrats, who have successfully resisted previous efforts to abolish the 15-year rule. The ban on voting affects an estimated 1.5 million of the five million Britons living overseas.Full Article: MP championing bill to restore expat voting rights - Telegraph.
Minister of State for the Diaspora Jimmy Deenihan has said that Irish citizens abroad should be able to vote in Irish Presidential elections. The Minister is currently on his first official visit to the United States since taking up the newly created office during the summer. Today he announced Government funding of nearly €2m for services supporting Irish emigrants in the US. The Constitutional Convention recommended that a referendum be called to extend voting rights in Irish Presidential Elections to people in Northern Ireland and Irish citizens around the world. The Department of the Environment is currently putting together a proposal in response to this which will be brought to the Government before Christmas, the Minister said.Full Article: Calls for Irish diaspora voting rights - RTÉ News.
As with the big independence decision itself, the issue of whether Scottish citizens living outside their homeland should be allowed to vote on the country’s future is the source of fevered debate. An estimated 1.15 million Scots will be watching from the sidelines on Thursday when the country decides whether or not to break away from the United Kingdom — including many high-profile campaigners such as James Bond actor Sean Connery, a pro-independence champion. While many accept the terms of the referendum agreed by London and Edinburgh which only allows current residents of Scotland to vote, others are furious that they will have no say on Scotland’s future, with some declaring their exclusion illegal.Full Article: Scots abroad miss out on independence vote | Features | The Malay Mail Online.
The Conservatives have pledged to abolish the “15 year rule” that prevents millions of British expats from being able to vote – if the party wins the next general election. The manifesto commitment is designed to protect the rights of citizens overseas who have “contributed to Britain all their lives” according to a Tory spokesman. He said that if the party wins power next May, it will remove the cap that prevents Britons from voting in UK elections after they have been out of the country for 15 years and allow them the vote for life. “Millions of British citizens live and work across the globe. Many have worked hard, contributed to Britain all their lives, and have close family living in Britain,” said the spokesman.Full Article: Tories pledge to give vote back to all expats - Telegraph.
A campaign to persuade British expats to vote in the European and local elections fell well short of its target, according to the Electoral Commission. An estimated 5.5 million Britons live overseas, but only a fraction – around 20,000 – were registered to vote in the UK as of February this year. The commission ran a campaign in the weeks before the elections on May 22 to encourage 25,000 more of them to register. However, only 7,079 did so – less than a third of the number hoped for. The Electoral Commission’s pre-ballot campaign involved advertisements on expat radio stations, and collaborations with the Foreign Office, groups such as Votes for Expat Brits, and political parties’ overseas networks. But in a report reflecting on the campaign, the commission disclosed that, although the number of registration forms downloaded from its website by Britons overseas was higher than for the previous European elections, it “fell well short” of its target. “Although we were disappointed not to hit our target we recognise that expatriates at these elections may have chosen to register to vote in their EU countries of residence,” said the report.Full Article: Expat voter drive fell flat - Telegraph.
Irish passport-holders residing aboard may have a vote to elect three members to the Senate. Junior minister with responsibility for the diaspora Jimmy Deenihan outlined a proposed action plan to appoint three Senators with respective responsibility for “the Americas, Europe/ UK, and Australia/elsewhere”. Along with having a say in presidential elections, he indicated the Senate initiative could be part of a revitalised approach towards representing Irish passport holders abroad and inviting investment. Mr Deenihan had estimated the number of Irish passport holders abroad as “well over a million”. The former Arts, Heritage, and Gaeltacht Affairs minister also said, smilingly, that he had informed Taoiseach Enda Kenny — “when he was compensating me” — there was no point in having the new portfolio unless there was some action plan to accompany it.Full Article: Irish emigrants may get to vote for ‘diaspora’ Senators | Irish Examiner.
From the time he was a wee lad on his grandpa’s knee, Ian Cowe had pride in his Scottish roots drummed into his bonny little head. Born in Edinburgh, he went to college there, spent part of his career in Scotland and joined the local Scottish cultural society when he was posted to Hong Kong. So he takes great interest in the referendum that could change his homeland, and the rest of Britain, forever. In September, voters in Scotland will decide whether the time has come to split from England and Wales and form the world’s newest independent nation, without a single shot fired. Cowe, 82, now lives in pleasant retirement in Berwick-upon-Tweed, England’s northernmost town. He can stand on the centuries-old ramparts and gaze across the border at Scotland just two miles away. He can get to Edinburgh by train — which he does once a week — faster than to the nearest English city, Newcastle-upon-Tyne. What he can’t do is cast a ballot Sept. 18. Only people living in Scotland proper have the right to vote in the binding plebiscite, leaving “expatriate” Scots such as Cowe without a say in the matter, regardless of their family history, emotional ties or sense of Scottish identity.Full Article: Scotland's expats want a say on independence from Britain - LA Times.
Nigerians living overseas may be on the verge of realising their dream of exercising voting rights during future elections in the country. This is because the National Conference delegates yesterday voted in favour of Nigerians in the diaspora to exercise their voting rights and participate adequately in elections. The Committee on Foreign Policy and Diaspora Matters had explained in their report that in line with the provisions of section 13(1) C of the Electoral Act 2096 as amended and sections 77(2) and 117(2) of the Constitution of the country, which provided that only citizens present in Nigeria as at the time of registration of voters can register and vote in any elections. It said the provision had disenfranchised millions of Nigerians living abroad, who are vehemently seeking to exercise their voting rights as part of their fundamental human rights.Full Article: allAfrica.com: Nigeria: Participants Endorse Diaspora Voting Rights (Page 1 of 2).
More than one million Canadians living abroad are now eligible to cast ballots in the next federal election after a court struck down a law stripping them of their voting rights. While mass murderers have the right to vote, long-term expats “who care deeply about Canada” do not have the right, Ontario Superior Court Justice Michael Penny said in his decision. Penny found part of the Canada Elections Act, which bars expatriates who have lived abroad for more than five years from voting, is unconstitutional. “The (government) essentially argues that allowing non-residents to vote is unfair to resident Canadians because resident Canadians live here and are, on a day-to-day basis, subject to Canada’s laws and live with the consequences of Parliament’s decisions.”Full Article: Long-term expat Canadians win voting rights.
Chile has reformed its constitution to give voting rights to citizens living outside the country. The measure was more than 20 years in the making, and is seen as a major victory for the many Chileans who left the country during its long dictatorship. Tuesday’s Senate approval came after a deal between the center-left ruling coalition and right-wing politicians. The vote was 28-5 in favor with three abstentions. The House of Deputies passed the measure last week.
A million Scots living outside of Scotland should be allowed to vote in a referendum this year on whether their country becomes an independent nation, one of them said on Monday as he sought backing for a legal challenge. James Wallace, a Scottish-born trainee lawyer who lives in England, is among the 1.15 million Scots who are excluded from the vote as they are not resident there. Anyone over the age of 16 living in Scotland – about 80 percent of the 5.2 million population – has the right to vote on September 18 either for independence or to remain part of the United Kingdom alongside England, Wales and Northern Ireland. That means 800,000 Scots living in the rest of the UK and others in large Scottish communities in countries such as the United States, Canada and Ireland will have no say.Full Article: Expat Scots demand a vote in independence referendum | GlobalPost.