No vote for long-term overseas residents

  • Michael Fahy

    Michael Fahy

The Bermuda Government has no plans to extend voting rights to Bermudians living permanently abroad.

At the end of last year, absentee ballots allowing students to vote were proposed for the new legislative year by the One Bermuda Alliance.

However, Michael Fahy, the Minister of Home Affairs, told The Royal Gazette that the Government has no immediate plans to widen it out to include those living overseas long-term.

“Because they have moved their place of residence, the constitution is clear, as is the Parliamentary Election Act, that those ordinarily living outside Bermuda cannot vote in Bermuda elections,” Mr Fahy said.

“We believe it’s fair that only students who are officially resident in Bermuda should get that right to vote.

“Giving people living outside Bermuda that right could cause problems especially if they are registered at their parents’ house or have property of their own. We don’t want to get into those kind of difficulties.”

The argument for absentee ballots was part of a raft of political reforms, which included fixed-term elections, backed by the OBA before its victory in 2012.

In last year’s Throne Speech, the OBA said extending the vote to registered voters studying overseas at “recognised educational institutions” would strengthen participation and help to build a more inclusive Bermuda.

Mr Fahy added: “In other countries it is a different situation.

“I don’t see how it could work in Bermuda, but that does not mean it will never happen.

“We have given the opportunity to students studying abroad and that is a good move and a good start.”

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Published Jan 9, 2016 at 8:00 am (Updated Jan 9, 2016 at 1:02 am)

No vote for long-term overseas residents

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