Voting rights for the British expat

Voting rights for the British expat

 

It is arguable that in these times of austerity it is more important than ever for people to turn to democratic elections as their only means of influence on such matters. However, what happens when it is a British expat who wants to have their vote?

A British expat named Harry Shindler has claimed that his human rights are being breached by preventing him from voting in such UK elections. Mr Shindler “was born in 1921 and lives in Ascoli Piceno, Italy. He left the United Kingdom in 1982 following his retirement and moved to Italy with his wife, an Italian national.”

The current UK law prevents any expat from voting after leaving the UK for more that 15 years. The European courts of human rights have dismissed the claims and will not be handing the case over to the  European Court of Justice.

Euro_ballot

There is currently still an active campaign arguing for British ex-pats to retain their right to vote after the 15 year period. The campaign’s website is http://www.votes-for-expat-brits.com and hosts a variety of opinions as to why the matter is so vital. Brian Cave from algarvedailynews.com argues that “the communication revolution has shrunk the world, and British citizens from Australia to London are equally aware of what happens in Britain. No British citizen can be unaware or unaffected.”

The final report release by the European Court of human rights stated the final ruling was justified as “the Court was satisfied that it pursued the legitimate aim of confining the parliamentary franchise to those citizens with a close connection to the United Kingdom and who would therefore be most directly affected by its laws.” It also noted that “if Mr Shindler returned to live in the United Kingdom, his right to vote as a resident would be restored.”

 Quotes from this article were taken from the following address which contains the full report regarding Mr Shindler’s appeal to the court of human rights.  http://hudoc.echr.coe.int/sites/eng-press/pages/search.aspx?i=003-4350682-5218120#%7B%22itemid%22:%5B%22003-4350682-5218120%22%5D%7D

 

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