Should expats get the vote?



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Germany is Right

As someone living in a country, the US, that has all kinds of voting restrictions governed by the capricioius nature of 50 states' laws, I sympathize with German legislators. Ultimately, if we're going to have national borders then citizenship (and it's most important civil liberty, voting) are going to be carefully allocated. If people are advocating the elimination of national borders, that's great. However, I'm fairly certain that discussion is above the pay grad of myself and most readers/commenters on here. So long as we have borders, there will be requirements for civic participation. I'm not certain this doesn't make sense and I've read nothing in the article or the comments that specify how and under what circumstances voting rights should alternatively be allocated.

George Elliott Ellis more than 3 years ago

US voting "restrictions"

It is easy to vote in the US. Don't lie about your name and address and show up with your neighbors on election day. Restrictions? Capricious? Do we live in the same country?

Mike more than 3 years ago

Surprised Natives

Every time I tell a German I meet that I'm not allowed to vote, they are surprised to the point of shocked, even if they already know that I don't have a German passport. Maybe that's a hopeful bode for the future.

Mörfi more than 3 years ago


My son "Ryan" totally cannot & will not believe that I'm not allowed to vote, he thinks I've misunderstood the rules. He's all like, just turn up with your passport & explain that you've been living here for thirteen years, they'll make an Ausnahme, Mum, you're basickly German. I do feel a bit tempted as well....

more than 3 years ago


The MPLD would let us all vote, fingers crossed hey

Jacinta Nandi more than 3 years ago


I think it just disgusting that I can vote for some random country I was once born to and have no connection anymore and for the politicians the country i live in I just do not exist.

ex he he more than 3 years ago

Author disqualifies himself... his tongue-in-cheek remark at the end. "If for no other reason than to annoy the CDU" shows great disrespect for anyone who (unlike myself) supports a party which was founded in the post-war tradition of a country a lot of expats don't really live in. They live in Berlin. Much like NYC, Berlin is not the "best" place to grasp German topics and sensitivities. Also, sadly enough, the majority of Expats I know (and love) do not speak enough German to actually follow election campaigns, nor do they care about the struggles, needs and sorrows of German natives.
I get your sentiment behind your wish to take part in German elections, but to use a German phrase "das Leben ist eben kein Ponyhof" which also means you cannot have it both ways. So-called double citizenships are available now but if it's already too much trouble to hand in forms and pay a fee, how serious can someone really be about his or her wish to be a responsible citizen?!

Laura S. more than 3 years ago


as a tax payer in this country, why should I have to pay a fee to get a passport to be allowed to vote for the government I'm paying for with my taxes!?!? Surely anyone that contributes to the running of a country through taxes should have a vote. That is more important than where I was born, since I didn't choose to be born in England, but I did choose to live and pay taxes in Germany.

Dave more than 3 years ago

"why should I have to pay a fee to get a passport":

because every citizen has to pay to get a required ID or passport. Why should you be handled differently?!

Sophie more than 3 years ago

Double citizenship isn't possible for everyone

Your points certainly stand for the author and the interviewee, but I just wanted to point out the double citizenships are NOT available now outside of some very specific circumstances. I am a relatively new immigrant to Germany (3 years) and if I could just pay a fee when I've been here long enough to get citizenship without having to give up citizenship in the country where my parents still live I would. Magnitude of the fee and whether it's fair to restrict voting rights on having the disposable income to get the paperwork done is certainly a question, but the first step is to allow doppeltestaatsburgerschaft - especially to the large Turkish minority who have built lives here for decades.

It's also an added incentive to learn more about the language and cultural context if you have a route to being able to vote - or perhaps more accurately, if you have no hope of ever being able to get citizenship, why would you bother learning more?

Adina more than 3 years ago

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