Canadian Expats Barred From General Election Vote

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More than a million Canada expats have lost the right to vote in the country’s upcoming general election after a court rejected a bid to change the rules barring them from taking part in the ballot.

The Appeal Court reversed a ruling by a lower court giving around 1.4 million Canadians living outside the country the chance to cast a vote in the election on October 19.

Two expats living in the USA argued that a five year limit on allowing expats to vote in Canada was unreasonable, but the court disagreed.

Expat groups are carrying on the campaign but admit they have run out of time to take part in the general election.

A growing number of countries actively encourage expats to vote in homeland elections.

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Expat rights

The British government is the latest to pledge to life a bar on voting for expats – but not until after the referendum on whether to leave the European Union has taken place.

British expats lose the right to vote after a 15 year absence from the country.

US expats are allowed to vote in all homeland elections

Australians have the vote while overseas providing they return home within six years of leaving.

New Zealand expats have a three-year time limit, but the clock resets every time an expat returns home.

French expats also have the right to vote and have dedicated representatives in the Paris parliament.

Expats around the world are becoming more vociferous about their rights as more people choose the option to retire or work outside their homeland.

Time limit

They argue that decisions made by their governments affect their status as expats and that many still have financial or property interests at home but no voice to affect government policy towards any laws that are made.

Meanwhile, others argue that expats should not have voting rights because they contribute no taxes and have chosen to live elsewhere.

Hollywood actor Donald Sutherland is a Canadian expat who often voices opinions about his homeland’s voting rules.

“Americans and expats from other countries who live abroad can vote but I cannot,” he said.

“Even though I am a Canadian, once my time limit is up I cannot cast a vote in any elections, regardless of my feelings about government policy and how decisions might affect me.”

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