The Legitimacy of Discriminatory Disenfranchisement? The Impact of the Rules on the Right to Vote in the Bremain/Brexit Referendum

Open access

Abstract

The Divisional Court of the Queen’s Bench Division of the England and Wales High Court handed down its decision on 20 April 2016 in the judicial review case of Shindler. This ruling confirmed that British citizens living in other EU Member States for more than 15 years remain barred from voting in the June 2016 referendum.

The case sparks further consideration of the voting rules in general and may therefore be of interest to others in considering questions of legitimacy in respect of the eventual outcome of the popular vote on 23 June. Unlike other states, the UK has no established rules on referendums and each such popular vote (and the franchise for it) is therefore treated on an ad hoc basis. Fears have been expressed that the government could manipulate the outcome of a referendum, particularly in determining a different franchise for each popular vote.

• Arrighi Jean-Thomas et al., 2013, “Franchise and electoral participation of third country citizens residing in EU and of EU citizens residing in third countries,” Policy Department C – Citizens' Rights and Constitutional Affairs (Constitutional Affairs), Directorate General for Internal Policies, European Parliament, April 2013, at http://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/etudes/etudes/join/2013/474441/IPOL-AFCO_ET(2013)474441_EN.pdf accessed 1 May 2016.

• BBC News, 2012, “Scottish independence: SNP dismisses expat voting call,” 18 January 2012, at http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-scotland-scotland-politics-16607480 accessed 5 May 2016.

• Ghose Katia, 2015, “The EU referendum: a fair franchise?”, The Electoral Reform Society, 27 May 2015, at http://electoral-reform.org.uk/blog/eu-referendum-fair-franchise accessed 2 May 2016.

• Migration Watch UK, 2013, “Votes for Commonwealth Citizens,” Briefing Paper 11.29, 27 August 2013, at http://www.migrationwatchuk.org/briefing-paper/11.29 accessed 3 May 2016.

• Nardelli Alberto, 2015, “Britain’s EU referendum: who gets to vote is a potential deciding factor”, The Guardian, 13 May 2015, at http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2015/may/13/britain-eu-referendum-who-gets-to-vote-deciding-factor accessed 5 May 2016.

• Tatham Allan F., 2009, Enlargement of the European Union, Kluwer Law International, Alphen aan den Rijn.

Journal Information

CiteScore 2017: 0.20

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2017: 0.107
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2017: 0.395

Target Group researchers, academics, practitioners interested in the field of political, economic and legal issues in federal states, regional organizations, and international organizations at global level

Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 0 0 0
Full Text Views 235 214 20
PDF Downloads 136 120 11