Irish expats: Still waiting for the vote

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

1 thought on “Irish expats: Still waiting for the vote”

  1. Equally surprising to me is that non-citizens who live in a country are not allowed to vote. Who does voting affect more? An ex-pat or a resident non-citizen? I’d like to vote in Ireland to direct the future of my 2 Irish children and my Irish fiancee. But I am not allowed too.

    I don’t feel much compulsion to vote in the country I am a citizen of; South Africa. Haven’t lived there for 6 years. I feel arrogant to assume I know what the real issues are in a country I no longer spend my waking hours in.

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