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Should Polonia and expat Poles lose voting rights in Polish elections?

pawian 154 | 8,546
10 May 2019  #1
I have been wondering about it for years. From time to time this topic appears in the PF, too. Here are most recent opinions:

1 Until Polonia - a lot of whom have never set foot in Poland, are stripped of voting rights, Poland will always be hostage to its past.

2 A very simple rule: no representation without taxation. Pay tax to Poland as a resident would, and you can vote. Don't pay tax, don't vote.

I shared those points of view too. Now I am not sure, especially after reading the article about US Polonia voting dilemma from the blog Expat Pole` Dairy from Chicago.

In short, the author, a Polish female in the USA since 2009, claims it is improper to vote if you left and haven`t lived in Poland for many years. I also read comments below her entry, posters generally agree with her and admit they don`t vote, either.

Statistics for 2015 parliamentary elections: 25.000 Am Poles voted. (72% of these Am Poles voted PiS, while 10% PO).

More Poles voted in Great Britain - about 65.000. That`s new emigration which arrived recently.

Altogether, 175.000 Poles took part in the voting all over the world.

Full statistics here:

Comments: only 25.000 Poles voted in the USA. It means they are probably new migrants who have come to America within past few years. Probably the old immigrants, staying in the USA for 30 or more years don`t vote. Or, am I wrong?

You assume that Polonia vote for PiS eh?

Yes, US Polonia vote for one party mainly. :) But, are they able to influence the results in Poland proper? Hmm, I doubt it.

As I said, I don`t know what should be done with it. Let it stay as it is?
10iwonka10 - | 398
10 May 2019  #2
It is difficult question.

1- I don't think there are many Polish who never set foot in Poland? How would they have polish citizenship ?
2- Someone could go abroad for 1-2 years and plans coming back so not paying taxes is not enough to stop voting.

I agree that if someone left years ago they should not vote but it is more ethical, moral reason than legal one. I guess other European countries have the same rule.? Even on emigration they can still vote.
Ironside 47 | 9,585
10 May 2019  #3
You must be PiS supporter pawain. As they have a similar attitude.

Once you start striping from the people their voting right it is a path down the rabbit hole.

As per usual dumb people are yapping stupidly about things they don't understand. they think - hey those are voting on people we don't like, lest strip them from their voting rights. Well enjoy until it is gonna be your turn to be striped from your rights.

Unless you want o have a real talk about reducing number of those eligible to vote. No, not Polonia only.
RubasznyRumcajs 5 | 459
10 May 2019  #4
Personally if one doesn't live in the country one should have no vote. After all its not them who will pay the consequences.
its like choosing your neighbours living room color- you may see it once or twice ice per year (if at all), but they are the ones who have to live with it.
OP pawian 154 | 8,546
10 May 2019  #5
Once you start striping from the people their voting right it is a path down the rabbit hole.

Yes, there is a danger it might infringe on democracy and human rights etc. I take it into account.

On the other hand:

its like choosing your neighbours living room color-

Yes, that is why I also feel uneasy about it.
cms neuf - | 849
10 May 2019  #6
The numbers are quite small so I never get upset about it - most of my US family don't vote and the Polish family I have in the UK have never even mentioned it.

I think there should be some kind of qualification - e.g. you lose it after 20 years, or you have to pay some one off community tax - say a few hundred dollars, or treat you would be eligible for military reserve etc.

I quite like the Italian system where there are a couple of MPs who represent the diaspora- and I think they cannot vote on certain domestic issues.
jon357 63 | 14,342
10 May 2019  #7
If someone's left for good (or for a few decades as cms neuf says) then they should lose the vote. If someone has citizenship by descent and has never lived there except perhaps for short periods they shouldn't vote either; their vote is more about their 'real ' country rather than the one their family has origins in.

As Pawian says, it's making a country a hostage to its past. Fortunately, Polish expat votes are counted in Warsaw. Unfortunately Polonia (especially Americans) tend to vote in a different way to Warsaw residents.
10iwonka10 - | 398
10 May 2019  #8
It is not so simple I suppose- if someone left 20 years ago and still have only polish citizenship he will not have rights to vote at all anywhere if polish is taken away from him?
cms neuf - | 849
10 May 2019  #9
Maybe one solution is that you can vote so long as you were 18 when you left Poland and every 10 years you have to reregister and pay some fee. The fee would be used to cover the costs of running the election
10 May 2019  #10
It is one thing to say that people who vote have an obligation to educate themselves about issues, parties, and candidates. It is something rather different to suggest that some citizens shouldn't be allowed to vote, or aren't equal under the law. There is a constitution that covers all of this, and people should be quite ashamed of themselves.

Article 32
All persons shall be equal before the law. All persons shall have the right to equal treatment by public authorities.
No one shall be discriminated against in political, social or economic life for any reason whatsoever.

Artcle 36
A Polish citizen shall, during a stay abroad, have the right to protection by the Polish State.

Article 37
Anyone, being under the authority of the Polish State, shall enjoy the freedoms and rights ensured by the Constitution.
10 May 2019  #11
Statistics for 2015 parliamentary elections: 25.000 Am Poles voted.

It is quite curious that PiS hasn't done more to register more Poles in America to vote. Orban did something similar in Hungary by giving citizenship to ethnic Hungarians living "abroad", including so-called "greater Hungary". Half of Chicago could be registered to vote in Polish elections quite legally.
cms neuf - | 849
10 May 2019  #12
The Poles in Chicago already can vote - most dont want to or cant be bothered.

It's different to the Hungarians in Romania and Serbia and Slovakia - they speak Hungarian at home and have a lot of commercial and cultural connections with Budapest.
10 May 2019  #13
You forgot Ukraine.

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