Are you a US citizen living outside the USA? There are some states where you can vote and some you cannot. https://t.co/2B3IZDOSd1
— U.S. Citizen Abroad (@USCitizenAbroad) December 14, 2015
Today I found myself in a lengthy telephone conversation with a former (she renounced) U.S. citizen abroad. She was describing her difficulties in attempting to vote in the 2008 election. The United States thinks of itself as a democracy. But then again any country that allows a citizen to cast a ballot considers itself to be a democracy. The former East Germany even named it self the: “Deutsche Demokratische Rupublik“.
This got me thinking about the characteristics that a country must have to be entitled to call itself a “democracy”. It strikes me that for a country to call itself a “democracy” it must have at least the following characteristics:
1. It must allow it’s citizens to vote. The denial of the right to vote cannot be arbitrary and cannot be based on characteristics that are irrelevant to voting. For example: age may be a relevant criterion but face may not be a relevant criterion.
2. The “opportunity to vote” must be realistic. Voting must be logistically possible. For example, one must be able to vote without traveling thousands of miles. There must be sufficient time to vote.
3. The system must encourage candidates who are interested and capable of representing the votors.
4. The system must encourage and allow citizens to actually run for public office.
I was recently discussing “citizenship taxation” with a member of a prominent political organization. He suggested that as long as overseas Americans have the right to vote, citizenship taxation must be retained. Is there any basis for linking the right to vote (if there is one) to citizenship taxation.
From a U.S. perspective the “right to vote” in a strong indicator of U.S. citizenship. Those who have completed DS 4079 know that one of the questions asks about your voting habits in the U.S.A.
Those Americans abroad who have voted in U.S. election, it would be interesting to hear about your experiences in attempting to vote. Were you successful?
Those Americans abroad who have NOT voted. What is that makes you reluctant to vote?
Should the right to vote be linked to citizenship taxation?