Voting in Times of a Pandemic

Last Sunday, the Croatian parliamentary elections took place. Holding the elections in the middle of a pandemic triggered a broad debate on the restrictions of the right to vote proposed by the State Electoral Commission of the Republic of Croatia (DIP) in order to protect public health. The initial voting instructions of the Commission were substantially changed a few days before the elections after the country’s Constitutional Court got involved. Before the court’s decision people who had COVID-19 were forbidden to vote.

Continue Reading →

To Vote or Not to Vote?

The COVID-19 pandemic poses considerable challenges to democracies across the world. This is particularly apparent with regard to the holding of elections which states have approached in various ways. States face the following tension: On the one hand, the obligation to protect the rights to health and life requires states to limit the spread of the pandemic by reducing human-to-human contact. At the same time, these measures encroach upon the right to political participation. Against that background, an intricate balancing of the various interests in light of international human rights law seems necessary.

Continue Reading →

Urban Citizenship is About Improving the City – not Just About Letting Foreigners Vote

In a way, the question of urban citizenship is easy. If a state were to give non-citizens citizenship rights with respect to local elections or urban affairs more generally, it would be fully within its powers to do so. As Rainer Bauböck and others have argued, there are many good reasons why a state might want to do so – and just as many reasons to protect the state’s authority to uphold the system of rights as a whole. That said, many issues remain. There is no consensus, and perhaps there never can be on the key terms at issue: state, nation, urban, and citizenship.

Continue Reading →

#DeniedMyVote too: Brits in France, the European Elections and the Council of State

European Elections Day in the United Kingdom has been stained by revelations that many EU citizens were unable to vote due to various clerical errors, widely reported on Twitter with the hashtag #DeniedMyVote. It seems that something along the same lines, though on a smaller scale, happened to UK citizens residing in other Member States of the European Union, for example in France.

Continue Reading →