MONTEVIDEO – Uruguay’s INDDHH human rights institute presented on Monday its second report in three years demanding that Congress pass legislation allowing Uruguayan expatriates to vote from abroad in national elections.
“This seems to us a fundamental issue in regard to the rights of Uruguayans who are outside the country, and in terms of responsibility for those of us inside the country,” INDDHH official Mariana Gonzalez told a press conference in Montevideo.
Congress needs to act before the end of the current legislature, she said.
The INDDHH first spoke out in 2013, after Paraguay authorized expats to cast votes at the country’s diplomatic missions, leaving Chile and Uruguay as the only nations in South America to exclude citizens living abroad from taking part in the electoral process.
In 2014, Chile extended the vote to citizens outside the country, making Uruguay the sole holdout.
The current arrangement discriminates against expats who can’t afford to travel back to Uruguay at election time, the INDDHH’s Mirza Guianze said.
The foreign ministry has the technology and is ready “to do the work necessary” to facilitate voting at Uruguayan diplomatic missions, Consular Affairs chief Jorge Enrique Muiño said during the press conference.
Two bills to legalize voting abroad are currently stalled in Congress, thanks in part to a requirement that changes to electoral laws be approved by supermajorities.