Voting from Abroad: The International IDEA Handbook

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Language: English
Pages: 278
ISBN: 978-91-85391-66-0
Binding: Paperback
Co‑publisher: Federal Electoral Institute of Mexico
Lead writers: Andrew Ellis, Carlos Navarro, Isabel Morales, Maria Gratschew, Nadja Braun Contributors: Alan Wall, Arlinda Chantre, Brett Lacy, Catinca Slavu, Dieter Nohlen, Epp Maaten, Florian Grotz, Graham Hassall, Jacobo Hernández Cruz, Jeff Fischer, Jon Fraenkel, Judy Thompson, Kåre Vollan, Leticia Calderón, Linda Edgeworth, Luis Arias Núñez, Manuel Carrillo, Marina Costa Lobo, Nada Hadzimehic, Nuias Silva, Nydia Restrepo de Acosta, Ozias Tungwarara, Pasquale Lupoli, Patrick Molutsi, Phil Green, Reginald Austin, Richard Vengroff, Simon-Pierre Nanitelamio, Stina Larserud
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The constitutions of many countries guarantee the right to vote for all citizens. However, in reality, voters who are outside their home country when elections take place are often disenfranchised because of a lack of procedures enabling them to exercise that right.


Voting from Abroad: The International IDEA Handbook examines the theoretical and practical issues surrounding external voting. It provides an overview of external voting provisions in 115 countries and territories around the world, including a map illustrating the regional spread.

Nadja Braun and Maria Gratschew

Chapter 1. External Voting: a comparative overview
Carlos Navarro, Isabel Morales and Maria Gratschew

Chapter 2. The history and politics of external voting
Andrew Ellis

Case studies
The Cook Islands: seat for overseas voters abolished
Graham Hassall

Indonesia: a long-established system for external voting at diplomatic missions
Alan Wall

Zimbabwe: highly restrictive provisions
Ozias Tungwarara

Mozambique: a system that is too subjective?
Simon-Pierre Nanitelamio

Chapter 3. The legal framework and an overview of electoral legislation
Dieter Nohlen and Florian Grotz

Case studies
Colombia: representation of emigrants in the Congress Nydia Restrepo de Acosta

Portugal: extended voting rights and decreasing participation
Marina Costa Lobo

Chapter 4. Entitlement to vote
Phil Green

Case studies
Senegal: a significant external electorate
Richard Vengroff

The Marshall Islands: a high proportion of external voters
Jon Fraenkel

Chapter 5. The implementation of external voting
Judy Thompson

Case studies
Brazil: compulsory voting and renewed interest among external voters
Leticia Calderón-Chelius

Honduras: a decision based on political calculations
Jacobo Hernández Cruz

Chapter 6. Host country
Brett Lacy

Chapter 7. The political rights of refugees and displaced persons: enfranchisement and participation
Jeff Fischer

Case studies
Afghanistan’s 2004 presidential election: external voting for a large displaced population
Catinca Slavu

Bosnia and Herzegovina: post-war trends in external voting
Linda Edgeworth and Nada Hadzimehic

Iraq: a large diaspora and security concerns
Judy Thompson

Chapter 8. The political rights of migrant workers and external voting
Carlos Navarro Fierro

Case studies
The Dominican Republic: political agreement in response to demands for the right to vote from abroad
Luis Arias Núñez

Mexico: safeguarding the integrity of the electoral process
Carlos Navarro Fierro and Manuel Carillo

The Philippines: the first experience of external voting
Philippines Committee on Overseas Absentee Voting

Cape Verde: a large diaspora and low turnout by external voters
Nuias Silva and Arlinda Chantre

Chapter 9. Observation of external voting
Kåre Vollan

Chapter 10. E-voting and external voting
Nadja Braun

Case studies
Estonia: more options for external voting
Epp Maaten

Switzerland: external voting in a federal state with direct democracy
Nadja Braun

Annex A. External voting: a world survey of 214 countries and territories
Annex B. Glossary of terms
Annex C. References and further readings
Annex D. The cost of external voting: some examples
Annex E. About the contributors

"It is a resource reporting on a wealth of experience and provides an excellent first call for those interested in the topics covered. It is also - for those interested in the minutiae and esoterica regarding electoral systems - an intriguing source of not otherwise readily accessible information. … This valuable resource should be on every library and professional's bookshelf; it is also available online (free) at IDEA's website."

Professor Ron Johnston, University of Bristol
(2008) "BOOK REVIEWS", Representation, 44:2, 205-208


“This is a unique and timely resource, covering the key political, legal, and operational components of external voting programs. It will quickly become a must-read for academics, policy-makers, and practitioners interested in an under-explored but rapidly growing phenomena that links the democracy and migration fields. The cases are first rate, and the content and organization cover all the critical issues and options in a thoughtful and balanced fashion. I cannot recommend it strongly enough.”

Jeremy Grace, Elections Consultant and Senior Adviser, International Organization for Migration

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