I was talking to an American friend who is living Germany the other day when the subject of expat voting came up.
When I mentioned that Irish citizens are not allowed to vote once they leave the country she laughed thinking I was joking.
When she realised I was serious she was astonished.
But…she said….how can that be? You’re still a citizen, with a passport, with full rights…surely?
No, I said. Once you leave, even for a day, you’re disenfranchised immediately.
Hold on, she said, still in disbelief. Most countries allow their expats to vote, well at least democratic, developed nations.
Not the Irish I assured her but we do debate the matter every couple of years.
Here’s some information on the issue.
Currently, there are around 115 countries and territories – including nearly all developed nations – that have systems in place to allow their emigrants to vote
A 2006 study of countries that allow their emigrants to vote included:
21 African nations
13 North and South American countries
15 Asian countries
6 Pacific countries