Gill Frank and Jamie Duong, Canadian citizens who have lived in the U.S. for several years, asked the Supreme Court of Canada Wednesday for the right to vote in Canadian federal elections. Under Canadian law, anyone living outside Canada loses voting rights after five years. Frank and Duong were born and raised in Canada, and both say they would like to return if they could find suitable jobs, similar, presumably, to their current positions at Princeton and Cornell universities. Duong is a dual citizen and has voted in U.S. elections. He has also taken advantage of Elections Canada’s recent decision to allow long-term ex-pats to vote in Canada if they appear in person at the voting poll.Full Article: Top court hears plea of Canadians abroad who want to vote - iPolitics.
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.Full Article: NRI: Only 24,000 overseas Indians have registered as voters.
The Government on Wednesday approved changes in electoral laws to permit Non-Resident Indians to cast their vote in assembly and Lok Sabha elections from overseas. If the proposal passes political muster in Parliament, NRIs will be able to exercise their voting rights through “proxy”. Currently, only service personnel are permitted to vote through proxy. However, the facility for NRIs will not be the same as that enjoyed by service personnel. For instance, voters in the armed forces can nominate their relatives as permanent proxy to vote on their behalf. But the Union Cabinet’s approval for proxy voting by NRIs carries a caveat: they cannot nominate one proxy for all polls.Full Article: Government clears proxy vote move for NRIs | The Indian Express.
Indian expatriates from all walks of life have welcomed the Government of India’s decision to amend the existing electoral law and allow millions of Non-resident Indians (NRIs) to vote from abroad in elections back home. They opined that the decision will involve NRIs in nation-building activities and expressed hope that now political parties will give serious considerations to the problems faced by NRIs. Bindu Suresh Chettur, eminent advocate, legal consultant and President of the Indian Business and Professional Council, Dubai, welcomed the decision and said that it was a constitutional right of the NRIs.Full Article: gulftoday.ae | Indian expats hail step on voting rights.
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.Full Article: It matters that Nigerians in diaspora want the rights to vote for our leaders.
Disenfranchised expat Canadians are questioning whether the Liberal government is deliberately allowing legislation aimed at restoring their voting rights to wither on the vine. The concern comes as the country’s top court set a new date for hearing their constitutional battle against provisions that strip Canadians abroad for more than five years from voting in federal elections. The Supreme Court of Canada agreed just ahead of a scheduled hearing in February to a government request for an adjournment given the introduction of Bill C-33 in late November.Full Article: Expats fret bill allowing them to vote is dying, despite Liberal promises - GuelphToday.com.
Ireland’s diaspora has no chance of voting in next year’s presidential election, Minister for Local Government Simon Coveney has confirmed. Work is however starting on improving the voter registration process, he said. Taoiseach Enda Kenny pledged during his St Patrick’s week visit to the US that a referendum would be held on whether or not to allow non-resident citizens, including those in Northern Ireland, to vote in presidential elections.Full Article: No diaspora vote in 2018 presidential election, says Coveney.
Editorials: The Tories promised to give expats the vote last year. It was a whopper | Giles Tremlett/The Guardian
In the rough-and-tumble of democracy, a general election is that magic moment when you kick out a politician who has reneged on their promises, or reward one who has fulfilled them. The genius, or cynicism, of Theresa May’s early election is that, after so few months of government, she has no real record to study. But here, for those wondering about her ability to flout any of her own government’s solemn pledges, is a whopper that has left millions of UK citizens in the lurch. In October her minister for the constitution, Chris Skidmore, made a clear and unequivocal pledgeto bring UK citizens living abroad back into the democratic fold, by allowing them to vote, before the next election. This was especially important to those whose lives are most traumatically affected by Brexit because they live elsewhere in the EU.Full Article: The Tories promised to give expats the vote last year. It was a whopper | Giles Tremlett | Opinion | The Guardian.
After more than two hours in a queue that snaked for more than a mile round the cosseted streets of South Kensington, Jérémy, 36, was finally nearing the voting booth – and still was not sure for which candidate he would cast his ballot. Who are the leading candidates in the French presidential election? With his two-year-old son Ernest in a pushchair, the engineer from Guildford said he had followed the campaign closely on French media but was still hesitating. Would it be the independent centrist Emmanuel Macron, or the hard-left veteran Jean-Luc Mélenchon? “It all feels new this time around,” he said. “Elections used to be all about left and right. This is between the centre and the extremes, continuity or change, Europe or not Europe. There are good elements in both programmes … I just don’t know. Angel, or demon?”Full Article: 'We don't need a third shock': French expats flock to vote in UK and US | World news | The Guardian.
Bulgaria: Caretaker Justice Minister fires official over unconstitutional draft bill limiting voting rights abroad | The Sofia Globe
A controversial draft bill that would have curtailed the voting rights of Bulgarians abroad has been withdrawn and the official responsible for posting it online has been fired. This was announced by the Justice Ministry on April 5, a day after reports about the draft bill, which proposed allowing Bulgarians to vote in parliamentary and presidential elections only if they had been resident in the country three months prior to the vote. Critics immediately pointed out that this would hardly survive a challenge in the Constitutional Court. In its Wednesday statement, the ministry said that caretaker Justice Minister Maria Pavlova had identified “imperfections” in the text of the draft amendments to the Bulgarian Citizenship Act.Full Article: Bulgarian caretaker Justice Minister fires official over unconstitutional draft bill limiting voting rights abroad | The Sofia Globe.
The Irish government outlined details yesterday (22 March) for a referendum that could give citizens abroad the right to vote in presidential elections, and possibly bring Ireland in line with 23 other EU countries. Aside from Ireland, only Cyprus, Denmark and Malta do not allow their citizens to vote if they live outside the country. Greece allows non-resident Greeks to vote only if they return home. If the Irish referendum passes, the country’s electorate could balloon. Some observers claim it could be a gift for Sinn Féin by giving voting rights to the left-wing party’s supporters abroad. Voters, for now only those in the country, will decide whether to extend rights to Ireland’s sizeable diaspora. A date for the referendum will be decided “in due course”, according to the government paper published yesterday.Full Article: Irish referendum could allow voting abroad, following 23 EU countries – EURACTIV.com.
There will be a total of 371 polling stations in 70 foreign countries for Bulgaria’s March 26 2017 early parliamentary elections, the Foreign Ministry in Sofia said on March 21. More than 45 000 notifications of intention to vote in a foreign country were submitted, the largest number from Bulgarian citizens in Turkey, 19 000. There were more than 5300 from the United Kingdom and more than 3000 from Spain. Ballot papers have been delivered to a third of the polling stations so far.
Bulgaria: Expats in Germany and US take election commission to court over polling stations | The Sofia Globe
ulgarian citizens living in Germany and the United States are taking the Central Election Commission (CEC) to the Supreme Administrative Court over the commission not opening polling stations in 13 German cities and two places in the US with Bulgarian communities. This emerged from the electronic public register of complaints and communications submitted to the CEC, Bulgarian National Radio said on March 9, seventeen days ahead of Bulgaria’s early parliamentary elections.Full Article: Bulgarian expats in Germany and US take election commission to court over polling stations | The Sofia Globe.
Punjab’s strong non-resident community has arrived in hordes from Canada, Britain, the US and other countries for the February 4 assembly elections in the state.
All major parties are paying special attention to the diaspora — or non-resident Indians (NRIs) — who have arrived here as the community is believed to have an influence on voting prospects in Punjab. In the past over one year, not only have NRIs extended support to the three major parties in the fray — the Congress, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal — but are also believed to have made major financial contributions to the parties.
Canada: Federal government wants expat voting rights case adjourned due to proposed legislation | The Globe and Mail
Proposed legislation granting long-term Canadian expats the right to vote will render a court fight over the issue moot, the federal government argues in new filings. As a result, the government is calling for a year-long adjournment of a Supreme Court of Canada hearing – set for February – in which two expats were expected to challenge parts of the Canada Elections Act that have disenfranchised them. “If Bill C-33 is enacted in its current form, the appellants will have the right to vote in future elections,” the government says in its motion to the chief justice. “An adjournment of the appeal is warranted to allow Parliament to debate and consider the bill.” At issue in the legal battle is a ban on Canadians’ voting in federal elections if they have lived abroad more than five years. Ontario’s top court has upheld the restriction as constitutional, prompting the pending the Supreme Court challenge.Full Article: Feds want expat voting rights case adjourned due to proposed legislation - The Globe and Mail.
The world has never been more interconnected than it is today. Not only are goods traded across borders, but people go abroad to work as well. Expatriates (or more commonly known as expats) are those who have lived and worked in another country, usually for a large, multinational corporation However, they are the ones who choose to remain citizens of their home country instead of applying for citizenship in their country of employment. Since they have been residing in another country, their voting rights have come into question. Countries like the United States allow their citizens to vote by a blank absentee ballot sent to them. Canada has yet to restore their expats’ voting rights, and with the new Liberal government, the issue has come up in court.Full Article: Canadian Expats and Their Right to Vote ·.
Editorials: The right to vote belongs to every Canadian — everywhere | Jamie Liew and Donald Galloway/iPolitics
Who has the right to vote? Section 6 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms appears to give a clear enough answer by stating that “every citizen has the right to vote.” The Canada Elections Act, however, currently provides that citizens who have lived abroad for more than five years are not permitted to vote. This limit was defended by the previous government as demonstrably justifiable in a free and democratic society, therefore constitutional. The tension between the legislation and the Charter has led to litigation by non-resident citizens going before the Supreme Court of Canada. The Liberal government has pre-empted the need for a judicial decision by tabling legislation that will ensure that the Charter right is not infringed. The proposed legislation will allow any Canadian citizen who is resident outside Canada to vote, no matter how long they have been outside the country. This is a welcome legislative intervention. It reveals a sound appreciation of the depth of the bond between the citizen and the state and augurs well for those concerned about the health of our democracy.Full Article: The right to vote belongs to every Canadian — everywhere.
Ireland: Calls strengthen for voting rights for Irish in Northern Ireland and living abroad | Irish Central
Pressure is growing on the Irish government to extend voting rights in Irish presidential elections to Irish citizens living in Northern Ireland and across the globe. Newry, Mourne and Down Council is the latest local authority to add its voice to the call for northerners and the diaspora to participate in future Presidential votes. Last month, Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams criticized Enda Kenny after the taoiseach rejected a proposed referendum in 2017 on the right of Irish citizens in Northern Ireland and in the diaspora to vote for the next President. The Taoiseach said the delay in holding a referendum was due to the need for officials to determine who would be included in a new franchise as well as the cost of the venture. Mr. Adams described the decision as “unacceptable and deeply disappointing.”Full Article: Calls strengthen for voting rights for Irish in Northern Ireland and living abroad | IrishCentral.com.
Ireland: Government will publish paper on the extension of voting rights to Irish abroad in January | Irish Post
An options paper on extending voting rights in presidential elections to Irish citizens living abroad is due in January, according to Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald. The issue of extending the electoral franchise to members of the Irish Diaspora around the world was raised by Sinn Féin deputy Mary Lou McDonald TD, speaking during Leaders’ Questions in the Dáil. Ms McDonald accused the Government of a “con job” in their treatment of the prospect of the Irish abroad and those in Northern Ireland being handed the right to vote in presidential elections. But the Tánaiste rejected Sinn Féin’s accusation that the Government had been “stalling” on the issue, saying that “considerable practical implications” had been behind the motion’s apparent lack of speed.Full Article: Irish Government will publish paper on the extension of voting rights to Irish abroad in January - Irish Post.
Canada moved on Thursday to expand the ability to vote to citizens that have lived out of the country for more than five years, making good on part of the Liberal government’s campaign promise to reform election laws. The bill, introduced by Minister of Democratic Institutions Maryam Monsef, will also allow voter information cards to be used as identification at the polls and allow a voter to vouch for someone else without ID, measures Monsef said will improve voter participation. The proposed changes would roll back measures that were brought in under the previous Conservative government. With the one-year-old Liberal government controlling the majority in the House of Commons, the bill was all but guaranteed to pass, though Monsef said she looked forward to working with opposition parties on any improvements.Full Article: Canada moves to expand voting rights to expatriates | Reuters.