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Latino Daily News

Friday February 18, 2011

Chilean Expats Could Get Voting Rights No Matter Their Length of Time Abroad

Chilean Expats Could Get Voting Rights No Matter Their Length of Time Abroad

Photo: Chilean Voters

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The Supreme Court in Chile recently showed its support for allowing Chilean citizens abroad voter rights, no matter the length of time they have been outside the country.

Last year, Chilean President Sebastián Piñera gave hope to 400,000 expatriates when he proposed that they be given the right to vote in the presidential election, but his proposal came with conditions. The voters would have to have accumulated at least nine months in Chile in the last 10 years before the election, but the latest government initiative only required the Chilean abroad to have spent five months in the country in the last eight years.

In late January, the country’s Supreme Court submitted a report to Senate President Jorge Pizarro containing proposed changes to Chile’s election policies, including automatic voter registration. Included in the report were comments from four of the court’s members, many of whom are also members of the Tricel (Tribunal Calificador de Elecciones), the national elections evaluation institute.

Tricel President Sergio Muñoz, believes that Chileans abroad should have the right to vote, and that conditions should not be made in order to.

The Tricel note attached to the report to Pizarro said, “A Chilean’s residing abroad should not be a reason for discrimination, and neither should the demand for a special link to the country, or for residing in the country for a certain period of time.”

Tricel also mentioned its support for extending voting rights to prisoner, as they said the constitution demands it, and recommended that voting polls be placed within prisons and that inmates should be given better access to political campaign information.