Of the over 3 million Romanians living abroad, that is outside the borders of Romania, only:
- 0.7% managed to express their option at the parliamentary elections of November 2008;
- 4.9% voted in the presidential elections of the year 2009;
- 1% voted at the Euro-parliamentarian elections of 2014;
Insufficient communication and the long distances to polling stations disenfranchise actually these people from one of the fundamental rights associated to citizenship.
The FLAME Foundation is of the opinion that the Romanians living outside the national borders of Romania should vote:
- in the local elections of the country they live in;
- in the elections from Romania – where providing these people access to voting should become a national priority.
More weight of the votes of Romanians who live abroad will force state institutions to publicly debate on projects meant to protect this category of citizens or the members of their families, people in vulnerable positions (old people, children);
Exercising the right to vote involves keeping in close touch the Romanian diaspora with their homeland, with medium and long-term beneficial effects such as investments in the native country, advocacy actions about the homeland in the political or economic fields deployed in other countries or know-how brought when coming back to the country of origin.
We are of the opinion that the main barriers in carrying out these objectives are:
- the very low number of polling stations accessible to the Romanians living abroad (about one station for 50,000 persons, compared to one polling station for 1,500 persons in Romania). If all the Romanians “allocated” to a polling station from abroad intended to vote, physically, it would be impossible for all these people to vote;
- the long distance to polling stations;
- the absence of an alternative voting system applicable to these people.