If Sri Lanka’s government moves a special parliamentary bill to empower Sri Lankan Tamil refugees living in South Indian in the coming weeks, over 50,000 refugees of Sri Lankan origin will be able to vote at the forthcoming parliamentary election. Officials at Sri Lanka’s Election Commission have signalled that the vote can be facilitated if Sri Lanka, together with the Indian administration, prioritize the creation of legal structures for overseas voting. “Many other countries have their expatriates voting, from their current location. Sri Lanka can also take that route,” said Additional Election Commissioner M. M. Mohamed.
hile politicians still have two nearly weeks to win over prospective constituents at home, Israeli officials serving abroad will already have their say Wednesday, officially kicking off elections for the 20th Knesset. Some 6,250 representatives in over 98 missions across the world are eligible to cast their vote, from Amman to El Salvador to Ghana. Overseas voting will begin Wednesday night and will take place over the course of 36 hours, given differing time zones between countries. Israeli representatives at the consulate in Wellington, New Zealand, will be the first to vote, with ambassador Yosef Livneh expected to submit the first ballot. The final vote will be held at the Israeli mission in San Francisco.
A referendum on whether to permit Irish citizens living overseas to vote in presidential elections is “unlikely” to be held this year, Minister of State for the Diaspora Jimmy Deenihan has said. The decision on whether to hold a referendum was due to be made before Christmas, but the matter has not yet been discussed by Cabinet. Speaking to The Irish Times after a round-table discussion on diaspora affairs in Dublin Castle yesterday, Mr Deenihan said two referendums, on marriage equality and the age qualification of presidential election candidates, would be put to the people next year, and “logistically it would be very difficult” to hold a third. The Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government is working on a proposal for overseas voting which will be discussed by Cabinet before the summer, Mr Deenihan said. However, this will not be included in the Government’s new plan for diaspora policy, due to be published in the coming weeks.
The Commission on Elections, through the promulgation of Resolution No. 9903, approved the piloting of the iRehistro Project (internet registration) for overseas voter registration, the Department of Foreign Affairs – Overseas Voting Secretariat (DFA-OVS) announced on Friday, October 17. DFA said the pilot project will be implemented by the Philippine Embassy in Madrid, Spain (Madrid PE), beginning the first week November 2014 for a period of one month, to cover both sea-based and land-based registrants. Within thirty days of its initial implementation, Madrid PE shall submit its report and recommendation on the viability to continue the implementation of the project. If the pilot IRehistro Project is found to be viable, other Philippine foreign service posts may then request for inclusion in the project.
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.