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.
Frank and Duong argue, in their lawyer’s court filings, that the right to vote for “every citizen of Canada” is enshrined in the Charter. They say they visit Canada frequently and keep up with political news by reading online newspapers.
Their position, articulated by their lawyer, Shaun O’Brien, is that all ex-pats should have a right to vote no matter how long they’ve lived abroad and should not have to provide a date on which they intend to return to Canada.