Statement No. 58: On Franchise and the Recent CR Parliament Elections

14 Nov

On Franchise and the Recent CR Parliament Elections

One important feature of parliamentary elections in advanced democratic States is the principle of franchise, i.e., the right of all citizens to participate limited only by age and a loss of civil rights or other legal incapacitation. However, participation in elections in the Czech Republic is practically impossible to a relatively vast number of citizens who are abroad on the Election Day without access to CR diplomatic missions. Most advanced democracies have dealt this problem for persons on business trips, working stays etc. simply. They make the postal voting method available to citizens outside the country on Election Day. This method has not yet been introduced in the Czech Republic.

The Democratic Club encourages the Czech Parliament to enact postal voting by the next Parliamentary elections. This enactment will establish an important democratic principle but also permanently solve the long-term problem of low voter turnout.  Such laws in advanced democratic countries with elections procedures like those of the Czech Republic can be a model for parliamentarians to consider.

We are aware that postal voting can facilitate electoral frauds. However, we do not believe Parliament would de facto deny the franchise to citizens who are otherwise eligible to vote. We are confident that Members of Parliament would institute safeguards making attempts at fraudulent voting impossible, as they are advanced democracies.

Prague, November 14, 2014

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