Right to Vote: Non-EEA National Family Members

A Non-EEA National Family Member should be afforded all of the rights that a local citizen is afforded.  One of these rights is the Right to Vote!  A user on What Do They Know has requested information in regards to this right.

The Local Authority (Birmingham City Council) responded amazingly promptly (the next working day) with the following response:

A person’s eligibility to be added to the register for voting purposes, is based on their nationality, not marital status.

Only British, Commonwealth, Irish & European Union citizens are allowed to register and therefore to vote.

An Indian national can vote in all elections, because India is part of the Commonwealth.

This is immediately good news for all of the citizens of the Fifty-three countries which are members of The Commonwealth (list linked).

However the request has been further clarified by the user so as to include individuals that are not citizens of member states.  Logically the answer is very clear that persons admitted under Directive 2004/38/EC should be afforded the right to vote (even more so considering that citizens of India can vote as they are citizens of a Commonwealth country).

The Directive clearly outlines that individuals benefiting from the right of Free Movement should also benefit from Equal Treatment to local residents.

(20) In accordance with the prohibition of discrimination on grounds of nationality, all Union citizens and their family members residing in a Member State on the basis of this Directive should enjoy, in that Member State, equal treatment with nationals in areas covered by the Treaty, subject to such specific provisions as are expressly provided for in the Treaty and secondary law.

This is clearly outlined in Article 24 – Equal Treatment:

1. Subject to such specific provisions as are expressly provided for in the Treaty and secondary law, all Union citizens residing on the basis of this Directive in the territory of the host Member State shall enjoy equal treatment with the nationals of that Member State within the scope of the Treaty. The benefit of this right shall be extended to family members who are not nationals of a Member State and who have the right of residence or permanent residence.

Also note: This section states “who have the right of residence” and it does not state “who hold a residence card”.  The  absence of a residence card issued in accordance with Article 10 (in the UK this would be the card issued once you have completed the EEA2 application) does not mean that you are not covered by Article 24 of Directive 2004/38/EC if you have rights that stem from the Directive.

 

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