1- Italy: The Italian Parliament is one of the few legislatures in the world to reserve seats for citizens residing abroad. There are twelve such seats in the Chamber of Deputies and six in the Senate.
The Overseas Constituency consists of four electoral zones, each of which elects at least one Deputy and one Senator:
· Europe (including Russia & Turkey)
· South America
· North and Central America
· Africa, Asia, Oceania and Antarctica
The remaining seats are distributed between the same overseas electoral zones in proportion to the number of Italian citizens resident in each.
2- France: The French, with nearly 2 million citizens settled abroad, have moved ahead to increase the number of people representing expatriate interests in their Senate from four to 12.
France led Europe in creating parliamentary seats specifically for overseas residents. These overseas residents have been represented in the Senate since 1946. In 1948, the High Council of French Citizens Resident Abroad was created to represent expatriate interests to official bodies, including the country's National Assembly.
The French government decided last year to test Internet voting for citizens living abroad. More than 60 percent of the voters in the U.S. used the Internet system rather than mailing ballots or going to an embassy or consulate.
3- Columbia: Four years ago, Colombian immigrants to the United States successfully lobbied for a Colombian constitutional amendment allowing them to retain the privileges of Colombian nationality. Colombian nationals can vote - either in Colombia or at a Colombian consulate abroad - and run for office in their homeland, even after they become United States citizens.
- In the 1994 fiscal year, according to the United States Immigration and Naturalization Service, 12,067 Colombians became American citizens, more than double their numbers in 1991.
4- Great Britain: British expatriates had no right to vote until the mid-1980s. They can now vote by proxy in general elections if they have been on a British electoral register at some point in the past 15 years.
- Although there has been talk of creating a parliamentary constituency for expatriates, it has foundered because there is no accurate tally of the number and location of British expatriates to use as a starting point to lobby for a seat.
5- Ireland: Ireland has a constitutional amendment pending that would provide for three members of its Senate to be elected by Irish emigrants.
6- Mexico: In a historic vote that grants new political rights to millions of Mexicans living abroad, Mexico's Congress approved legislation on June 28, 2005 allowing them to vote by mail in next year's presidential election.
7- Philippines: For the first time, Filipino citizens living in the US cast ballots in the May 2004 presidential election, thanks to the Overseas Absentee Voting Act, enacted in 2003, which granted voting rights and dual citizenship to Filipinos living overseas.
8- Portugal: Portugal allows four parliamentarians, two representing Portuguese citizens living in Europe and two for those living in the rest of the world.
9- South Korea: Although the 1.5 million Koreans in the United States can't vote in South Korea's elections, they shape opinion in South Korea.
10- Switzerland: Switzerland gave expatriates the right to vote in 1992 and allowed them to stand for Parliament in one of the country's 26 cantons. No candidate has won a seat, although one came close in 1999, because of difficulties in gathering support long distance.
- To interest their 600,000 citizens overseas in taking part in the country's political life, the Swiss are considering the idea of a 27th canton, which would create two parliamentary representatives for expat interests.
11- Trinidad & Tobago: In Trinidad and Tobago, which has allowed the practice since 1988, dual nationals can vote only if they have lived there for a year prior to elections.
12- USA: With the passage of the 1975 Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Rights Act, all American citizens living outside the US were given the right to vote in federal elections.
Source: search of LexisNexis(R) Return to Home page