Skip to main content
×
Home
    • Aa
    • Aa

THE RIGHT TO VOTE FOR NON-RESIDENT CITIZENS IN EUROPE

  • Richard Lappin (a1)
Abstract
Abstract

The right to vote is the most important political right in international human rights law. Framed within the broader right of political participation, it is the only right in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights not guaranteed as a universal human right but rather as a citizen's right. While limitations on the right to vote are permissible in respect of citizenship and age, residency-based restrictions are not explicitly provided. However, recent judgments of the European Court of Human Rights endorse a view that voting rights may be conditioned on residency on the grounds of an individual's bond to their country-of-origin and the extent to which laws passed by that government would affect them. This article questions this proposition and explores whether disenfranchisement based solely on residency constitutes an unreasonable and discriminatory restriction to the essence of the right.

  • View HTML
    • Send article to Kindle

      To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure no-reply@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

      Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

      Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

      THE RIGHT TO VOTE FOR NON-RESIDENT CITIZENS IN EUROPE
      Available formats
      ×
      Send article to Dropbox

      To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Dropbox account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

      THE RIGHT TO VOTE FOR NON-RESIDENT CITIZENS IN EUROPE
      Available formats
      ×
      Send article to Google Drive

      To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Google Drive account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

      THE RIGHT TO VOTE FOR NON-RESIDENT CITIZENS IN EUROPE
      Available formats
      ×
Copyright
References
Hide All

1 Shindler v UK App No 19840/09 (ECtHR, 7 May 2013).

2 ibid, paras 116–118.

3 Nowak M, UN Covenant on Civil and Political Rights: CCPR Commentary (2nd edn, NP Engel 2005) 574 .

4 Art 26 reaffirms non-discrimination, providing equality before the law and equal protection of the law.

5 Art 2.2 requires States to ‘adopt such laws or other measures as may be necessary to give effect to the rights recognised in the present covenant’. This is replicated in other international treaties.

6 CCPR, ‘General Comment No 25: Participation in Public Affairs and the Right to Vote’ (1996) CCPR/C/21/Rev.1/Add.7. See also art 2 of the 1994 Inter-Parliamentary Union Declaration on Criteria for Free and Fair Elections.

7 See, for example, Melnychenko v Ukraine App No 17707/02 (ECtHR, 19 October 2004) paras 57–58.

8 ibid, para 62, where the Court noted that Ukrainian law did not draw a distinction between ‘official residence’ (eg residence indicated in a passport) and a person's ‘habitual place of residence’.

9 CCPR, ‘Gillot v France’ Com No 932/2000 (26 July 2002) A/57/40, para 14.2.

10 CCPR, ‘Silva v Uruguay’ Com No R.8/34 (8 April 1981) A/36/40, para 8.2.

11 CCPR, ‘General Comment No 28: The Equality of Rights between Men and Women’ (2000) CCPR/C/21/Rev.1/Add.10, para 21; CCPR ‘General Comment No 31: The Nature of the General Legal Obligation Imposed on States Parties’ (2004) CCPR/C/21/Rev.1/Add.13, para 6.

12 HRC, ‘Report of the Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Migrants: Mission to Albania’ (10 April 2012) A/HRC/20/24/Add.1, para 72.

13 HRC, ‘Report of the Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in Cambodia’ (16 July 2012) A/HRC/21/63, para 81.

14 See, for example, art 4 of International Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination; art 4 of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities; and art 15 of the ECHR.

15 CCPR, ‘General Comment No 29: Derogations during a State of Emergency’ (2001) CCPR/C/21/Rev.1/Add.11, para 8.

16 CMW, ‘Concluding Observations on Azerbaijan’ (27 May 2013) CMW/C/AZE/CO/2, para 35; CMW, ‘Concluding Observations on Philippines’ (1 May 2009) CMW/C/PHL/CO/1, para 35; CMW, ‘Concluding Observations on Mexico’ (20 December 2006) CMW/C/MEX/CO/1, para 10; CMW, ‘Concluding Observations on Bosnia and Herzegovina’ (26 September 2012) CMW/C/BIH/CO/2, para 40.

17 CMW, ‘Concluding Observations on Philippines’ para 38.

18 Respectively, CEDAW, ‘General Recommendation No 23: Political and Public Life’ (1997) A/52/38, para 23; CCPR, ‘Concluding Observations on the USA’ (18 December 2006) CCPR/C/USA/CO/3/Rev.1, para 35; CRPD, ‘Concluding Observations on Hungary’ (22 October 2012) CRPD/C/HUN/Q/1, para 46.

19 CESCR, ‘General Comment No 20: Non-discrimination in economic, social and cultural rights’ (2009) E/C.12/GC/20, para 34.

20 CCPR, ‘General Comment No 25’ (n 6) para 3; CMW, ‘Concluding Observations on Colombia’ (22 May 2009) CMW/C/COL/CO/1, para 6; CERD, ‘Concluding Observations on Italy’ (4 April 2012) CERD/C/ITA/CO/16-18, para 24.

21 Nottebohm Case (Liechtenstein v Guatemala) Judgment (ICJ, 6 April 1955) 24–26.

22 Mathieu-Mohin and Clerfayt v Belgium App No 9267/81 (ECtHR, 2 March 1987) para 51.

23 Bader v Austria App No 26633/95 (ECtHR, 15 March 1996) unpublished.

24 Carson and Others v UK App No 42184/05 (ECtHR, 16 March 2010) paras 70–71.

25 Sevinger v The Netherlands App No 17173/07 (ECtHR, 13 April 2007) 7.

26 Ganchev v Bulgaria App No 28858/95 (ECtHR, 25 November 1996) 6; Tanase v Moldova App No 7/08 (ECtHR, 27 April 2010) para 162.

27 Podkolzina v Latvia App No 46726/99 (ECtHR, 9 July 2002) para 33.

28 Hirst v UK App No 74025/01 (ECtHR, 6 October 2005) para 59.

29 Zdanoka v Latvia App No 58278/00 (ECtHR, 16 March 2006) para 115.

30 Shindler (n 1) para 102.

31 Luksch v Germany App No 35385/97 (ECtHR, 21 May 1997) 2.

32 Hilbe v Liechtenstein App No 31981/96 (ECtHR, 7 September 1999) 3–4.

33 X. v UK, Decision App No 7215/75 (ECtHR, 11 December 1976) 2.

34 Respectively, Polacco and Garofalo v Italy App No 23450/94 (ECtHR, 15 September 1997) 6; Py v France App No 66289/01 (ECtHR, 11 January 2005) para 52; Shindler (n 1) para 118.

35 Py (n 34) para 62.

36 Polacco and Garofalo (n 34) 5.

37 Doyle v UK App No 30158/06 (ECtHR, 6 February 2007) 3.

38 Shindler (n 1) para 106.

39 Sitaropoulos and Giakoumopoulos v Greece App No 42202/07 (ECtHR, 15 March 2012) paras 47–49.

40 X. and Association Y. v Italy App No 8987/80 (ECtHR, 6 May 1981) 6.

41 Sitaropoulos and Giakoumopoulos (n 39) para 80.

42 X. (n 40) 3.

43 Shindler (n 1) para 105.

44 ibid, para 116.

45 The CPFPL entered into force in 1997. Currently, nine States have ratified the treaty.

46 Nottebohm (n 21).

47 Armenia, Azerbaijan, Moldova, and the Russian Federation are Council of Europe members and the applications of Belarus and Kazakhstan are pending. The CIS conventions are legally binding on all CIS States.

48 See also, art  25.2 of the 2012 Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Human Rights Declaration. Also, art  9.2.I of the 2009 AU Kampala Convention further requires States to ensure that IDPs ‘can enjoy their civic and political rights, particularly … the right to vote and to be elected’.

49 CCPR, ‘General Comment No 25’ (n 6) para 10.

50 Statehood Solidarity Committee v US App No 11.204 (IACHR, 29 December 2003) para 93; Purohit and Moore v The Gambia App No 241/01 (ACHPR, 29 May 2003) para 76.

51 UN General Assembly Resolution on Enhancing the Effectiveness of the Principle of Periodic and Genuine Elections (1991) A/RES/46/137, para 6.

52 UN General Assembly Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement (1998) E/CN.4/1998/53/Add.2.

53 CoM, ‘Reply to PACE Recommendation 1650’ (2004) para 1; CoM, ‘Reply to PACE Recommendation 1714’ (2005) para 7.

54 Shindler (n 1) para 102; Hirst (n 28) paras 78–79; Alajos Kiss v Hungary App No 38832/06 (ECtHR, 20 May 2010) para 41.

55 E Sensenig-Dabbous, Absentee Voting Survey (LERC, Notre Dame University 2005) 6.

56 Brand L, ‘Arab Uprisings and the Changing Frontiers of Transnational Citizenship’ (2014) 41 Political Geography 54, 55.

57 Itzigsohn J and Villacrés D, ‘Migrant Political Transnationalism and the Practice of Democracy’ (2008) 31 Ethnic and Racial Studies 664 , 665.

58 Collyer M, ‘A Geography of Extra-Territorial Citizenship’ (2014) 2 Migration Studies 295 .

59 Shindler (n 1) paras 74–75; GS Goodwin-Gill, Free and Fair Elections (Inter-Parliamentary Union 2006) 126.

60 Shindler (n 1) paras 74–75. Exceptions are Armenia, Ireland, and Malta.

61 Bosnia and Herzegovina, Denmark, Hungary, Liechtenstein, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, and Serbia.

62 Voting Rights and Residency Case 323/97 (Austrian Constitutional Court, 16 March 1989).

63 Sitaropoulos and Giakoumopoulos (n 39) paras 32–45. See App 1.

64 Venice Commission of the Council of Europe, ‘Report on Out-of-Country Voting’ (2011) CDL-AD(2011)022, para 38.

65 Art 94.1.c of the 1918 Commonwealth Electoral Act (Australia).

66 Art 80.1.a of the 1993 Electoral Act (New Zealand).

67 Frank et al. v Canada 12-453976 (Ontario Superior Court of Justice, 2 May 2014) para 95, 129.

68 PACE, ‘Recommendation 951: Voting Rights of National of Council of Europe Member States’ (1982) para 10.

69 PACE, ‘Recommendation 1410: Links between Europeans Living Abroad and their Countries of Origin’ (1999) paras 5.3–5.5.

70 PACE, ‘Resolution 1459: Abolition of Restrictions on the Right to Vote’ (2005) para 11.b–d.

71 PACE, ‘Recommendation 1714: Abolition of Restrictions on the Right to Vote’ (2005) para 1.

72 PACE, ‘Resolution 1591: Distance Voting’ (2007) para 1, 8; PACE, ‘Resolution 1696: Engaging European Diasporas’ (2009) para 9.1.3, 10.2; PACE, ‘Recommendation 1890: Engaging European Diasporas’ (2009).

73 PACE, ‘Resolution 1897: Ensuring Greater Democracy in Elections (2012) para 8.1.7, 8.1.12.

74 Venice Commission of the Council of Europe, ‘Code of Good Practice in Electoral Matters’ (2002) CDL-AD(2002)23rev, section I.1.1.c.

75 Venice Commission of the Council of Europe, ‘Report on Abolition of Restrictions on the Right to Vote in General Elections’ (2005) CDL-AD(2005)011/012, para 31.

76 Venice Commission of the Council of Europe, ‘Opinion on PACE Recommendation 1714’ (2005) CDL-EL(2005)032, para 4.

77 Venice Commission of the Council of Europe and OSCE/ODIHR, ‘Joint Opinion on the Draft Election Code of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia’ (2007) CDL-AD(2007)012, para 5.

78 Venice Commission of the Council of Europe and OSCE/ODIHR, ‘Joint Opinion on the Election Code of the Republic of Armenia’ (2008) CDL-AD (2008)023, paras 10–13.

79 Venice Commission of the Council of Europe, ‘Report on Out-of-Country Voting’ (2011) CDL-AD(2011)022, paras 98–99.

80 OSCE, Copenhagen Document (1990) para 7.3.

81 OSCE, Vienna Document (1989) para 22.

82 Raskin JB, ‘Legal Aliens, Local Citizens’ (1993) 141 UPaLRev 1391 , 1393.

83 Rhodes S and Harutyunyan A, ‘Extending Citizenship to Emigrants’ (2010) 31 International Political Science Review 470 , 471.

84 Harris D et al. , Law of the European Convention on Human Rights (3rd edn, Oxford University Press 2014), 921 .

85 Aziz v Cyprus App No 69949/01 (ECtHR, 22 June 2004) para 28.

86 Binder C, ‘Diversity and Political Rights in the Jurisprudence of the ECtHR’ in von Bogdandy A et al. (eds), Direitos Humanos, Democracia e Integraçao Jurídica (Elsevier 2012) 518 .

87 Venice Commission of the Council of Europe, ‘Report on Out-of-Country Voting’ (n 79) paras 63–71.

88 Barry K, ‘Home and Away’ (2006) 23 New York University Public Law and Legal Theory Working Papers 1, 51.

89 Baubock R, ‘Stakeholder Citizenship and Transnational Political Participation’ (2007) 75 FordhamLRev 2393, 2410.

90 Fabbrini F, ‘Voting Rights for Non-Citizens’ (2011) 7 EuConst 392, 403–4.

91 Venice Commission of the Council of Europe, ‘Report on Out-of-Country Voting’ (n 79) para 7.

92 Kochenov D, ‘Free Movement and Participation’ (2009) 16 Maastricht Journal of European and Comparative Law 197, 213.

93 Bosniak L, ‘Constitutional Citizenship through the Prism of Alienage’ (2002) 63 OhioStLJ 1285, 1307.

94 Baubock R, ‘Expansive Citizenship’ (2005) 38 Political Science and Politics 683, 683.

95 Spiro PJ, ‘Perfecting Political Diaspora’ (2006) 81 NYULRev 207 .

96 Rhodes and Harutyunyan (n 83) 474.

97 Song S, ‘Democracy and Noncitizen Voting Rights’ (2009) 13 Citizenship Studies 607, 607.

98 Kochenov (n 92) 197.

99 Owen D, ‘Transnational Citizenship and the Democratic State’ (2011) 14 Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy 641, 659.

100 Shklar JN, American Citizenship (Harvard University Press 1991) 2 .

101 King MLJr, ‘Speech before the Youth March for Integrated Schools’ in A Testament of Hope (James Melvin 1986, first published 1959) 21–2.

102 Fishkin J, ‘Equal Citizenship’ (2011) 86 IndLJ 1289, 1337.

103 Arendt H, The Origins of Totalitarianism (Harcourt, Brace and Jovanovich 1951) 294.

104 Walzer, Spheres of Justice (Basic Books 1983) 62.

105 Perez v Brownell, 356 US 44 (US Supreme Court, 31 March 1958) section 64.

106 Arendt (n 103).

107 Song (n 97) 612.

108 Aleinkoff AT, ‘Citizenship Policies for an Age of Migration’ in Faist T (ed), Dual Citizenship in Europe (Carnegie Endowment for International Peace 2002).

109 Martin DA, ‘New Rules on Dual Nationality for a Democratizing Globe’ (1999) 14 Georgia Immigration Law Journal 1, 26 30.

110 Honohan I, ‘Should Irish Emigrants have Votes?’ (2011) 26 Irish Political Studies 545, 551.

111 Shindler (n 1) para 106.

112 Garcia JA, ‘Immigrants and Suffrage’ (2011–12) 24 Harvard Journal of Hispanic Policy 21, 32.

113 Marin R Rubio, ‘Transnational Politics and the Democratic Nation-State’ (2006) 81 NYULRev 117, 142.

114 ibid, 138.

115 OECD, ‘International Migration Database’ (2012) <http://stats.oecd.org>.

116 Barry (n 88) 17–18.

117 Walzer (n 104) 61.

118 Beckman L, ‘Citizenship and Voting Rights’ (2006) 10 Citizenship Studies 153, 155.

119 Soysal Y, Limits of Citizenship (University of Chicago Press 1994) 142.

120 Day S and Shaw J, ‘European Union Electoral Rights and the Political Participation of Migrants in Host Countries’ (2002) 8 International Journal of Population Geography 183 .

121 Baubock (n 89) 2430.

122 Song (n 97) 615.

123 Carens JH, ‘On Belonging’ (2005) Boston Review .

124 Walzer (n 104) 60–1.

125 Marin R Rubio, Immigration as a Democratic Challenge (Cambridge University Press 2000); Carens JH, ‘The Integration of Immigrants’ (2005) 2 Journal of Moral Philosophy 29 .

126 Walzer (n 104) 60–1.

127 Jacobsen D, Rights Across Borders (Johns Hopkins University Press 1996) 112 .

128 Baubock (n 89) 2426.

129 Rubio Marin (n 125) 128.

130 Baubock (n 94) 683.

131 Barry (n 88) 26–7.

132 ibid 58.

133 Levitt P, ‘Transnational Migration’ (2001) 1 Global Networks 195 .

134 Itzigsohn and Villacrés (n 57) 671.

135 Vardarajan L, The Domestic Abroad (Oxford University Press 2010).

136 M Collyer and Z Vathi, ‘Patterns of Extra-territorial Voting’ (2007) T22 Working Paper – Sussex Centre for Migration Research, 8.

137 Dahl RA, After the Revolution? (Yale University Press 1990) 64 . See also ECN and Nottebohm (n 21).

138 Barry B, Culture and Equality (Cambridge University Press 2000) 77 ; Benhabib S, The Rights of Others (Cambridge University Press 2004) 217 .

139 Marin R Rubio, ‘National Limits to Democratic Citizenship’ (1998) 11 Ratio Juris 51, 53.

140 Weale A, Democracy (St Martin's Press 1999), 158 .

141 Owen (n 99) 642.

142 Goodin R, ‘Enfranchising all Affected Interests and its Alternatives’ (2007) 39 Philosophy and Public Affairs 40, 52; Dahl (n 137) 49.

143 Lopez-Guerra C, ‘Should Expatriates Vote?’ (2005) 13 Journal of Political Philosophy 216, 217.

144 Beckman (n 118) 160.

145 Shapiro I, The Moral Foundations of Politics (Yale University Press 2003) 222.

146 Song (n 97) 611.

147 Hirschman C et al. , The Handbook of International Migration (Russell Sage Foundation 1999).

148 Beckman (n 118) 162.

149 Lopez-Guerra (n 143) 227.

150 Baubock (n 89) 2416; Lyons T, ‘Diasporas and Homeland Conflict’ in Kahler M and others (eds), Globalization, Territoriality, and Conflict (Cambridge University Press 2006).

151 Honohan (n 109) 550.

152 Mascitelli B and Battiston S, ‘The Challenges to Democracy and Citizenship’ (2008) 13 Modern Italy 261 ; Ragazzi F and Stiks I, Country Report Croatia (EUDO 2010).

153 Levitt P and De la Dehesa R, ‘Transnational Migration and the Redefinition of the State’ (2003) 26 Ethnic and Racial Studies 587 .

154 Vardarajan (n 134).

155 Lisi M et al. , ‘Out of Sight, Out of Mind?’ (2014) South European Society and Politics 1, 8.

156 Honohan (n 110) 548.

157 Barry (n 88) 32.

158 Pogonyia S, ‘Four Patterns of Non-resident Voting Rights’ (2013) 13 Ethnopolitics 122, 127.

159 Beckman (n 118) 159.

160 ibid 159.

161 Grace J, ‘External and Absentee Voting’ in IFES (ed), Challenging the Norms and Standards of Election Administration (IFES 2007) 39 .

162 Baubock (n 89) 2436.

163 Honohan (n 110) 549.

164 Rhodes and Harutyunyan (n 83) 473.

165 Baubock (n 89) 2412.

166 L Brand, ‘Authoritarian States and Voting from Abroad’ (2010) 43 Comparative Politics 81, 97.

167 Brand (n 56) 55.

168 Joppke C, Selecting by Origin (Harvard University Press 2005).

169 Pogonyia (n 158) 136.

170 Baubock (n 89) 2421.

171 Podkolzina (n 27); Soering v UK App No14038/88 (ECtHR, 7 July 1989) para 89.

172 Binder (n 85) 511.

173 Shindler (n 1) para 21.

174 Carter C, ‘The Right to Vote for Non-Resident Citizens’ (2011) 66 Texas IntlLJ 655, 671.

175 Shindler (n 1) para 116.

176 Respectively, Hirst (n 28) para 62; Kiss (n 54) para 44.

177 App 2.

178 Gillot (n 9) para 14.2.

179 Zwart T, ‘More Human Rights than Court: Why the Legitimacy of the European Court of Human Rights Is in Need of Repair and How It Can Be Done’ in Flogaitis S et al. (eds), The European Court of Human Rights and Its Discontents (Edward Elgar 2013), 79 .

180 Venice Commission of the Council of Europe, ‘Code of Good Practice in Electoral Matters’ (2002) CDL-AD(2002)23rev, section I.3.2.

181 Fishkin (n 102) 1289.

182 Barry (n 88) 27.

183 Lisi et al. (n 155) 5.

184 Sitaropoulos and Giakoumopoulos (n 39) para 80.

185 Kochenov (n 92) 219.

186 Boccagni P, ‘Reminiscences, Patriotism, Participation’ (2011) 49 International Migration 76 .

187 Baubock (n 89) 2401.

188 CoM, ‘Recommendation 11: Legal, Operational and Technical Standards for E-voting’ (2004).

189 LafleurJ-M, Transnational Politics and the State: The External Voting Rights of Diasporas (Routledge 2013), 22 .

190 Shindler (n 1) para 102.

191 Lijphart A, ‘Unequal Participation’ (1997) 91 American Political Science Review .

192 CCPR, ‘General Comment No 25’ (n 6) para 11.

193 Boccagni P and Ramirez J, ‘Building Democracy or Reproducing “Ecuadoreanness”?’ (2013) 45 Journal of Latin American Studies 721, 727.

194 Collyer and Vathi (n 136).

195 Spiro (n 95) 226.

196 Lafleur (n 189).

197 Lisi et al. (n 155) 4.

198 Baubock (n 89) 2433.

199 Data in appendices from Sitaropoulos and Giakoumopoulos (n 39) and Shindler (n 1),  with updates provided from the author's own research, as of 2015.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

International & Comparative Law Quarterly
  • ISSN: 0020-5893
  • EISSN: 1471-6895
  • URL: /core/journals/international-and-comparative-law-quarterly
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Keywords:

Metrics

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 65
Total number of PDF views: 267 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 434 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between 13th September 2016 - 20th October 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.