Over at BBC Caribbean there is very interesting discussion forum on the â€œThe Migrant Voteâ€, and weather or not migrants should be eligible to vote by their length of stay.
The Caribbean migrant vote was a key factor in the recent Antigua and Barbuda general election. And with Dominicaâ€™s general elections just around the corner, the whole issue of the migrants vote will definitely raise some political eyebrows.
In Antigua, it was heavily campaigned for (and against) and is felt to have influenced the outcome of the vote in some constituencies. This is not unique to Antigua and Barbuda, it’s also a point of debate elsewhere in the Caribbean region.
One matter being heavily debated is whether non-nationals should first be naturalized, rather than living in the country for a specific period, before getting the right to vote. In the Commonwealth Caribbean, the right is generally extended to Commonwealth citizens; however, the residence period varies. But in the US, voting for the president is restricted to citizens but residents of Puerto Rico and the US Virgin islands are not allowed to elect the president.
The question is: So should non nationalsâ€™ first become citizens of the country they are living in before they are eligible to vote? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
I think extending voting rights to non-nationals is a matter for the people of that country and the country’s constitution. I find it hard to accept that the VIs and Puerto Ricans can’t get full voting rights though, as US citizens, but I guess its the law.
My own thoughts are that if legal immigrants or non-immigrants are contributing responsibly to the society, paying taxes and social security for example, that after an initial residency period, that they be allowed to vote. I think some of the laws regarding that need updating, but in the US I think the general sentiment would be that non-nationals/aliens should not vote. However I see no reason why permanent residents should not be allowed to vote.