Costa Rica Coffee Guide

Legislators, Tribunal Plan Absentee Voting

August 31, 2007

A special commission in the Legislative Assembly is considering reforms to the Electoral Code that would allow Costa Ricans living abroad to vote in referendums and presidential elections.

“Not only is it a wish of the (Supreme Elections) Tribunal that there be a vote in other countries, but it’s also a commitment of the Commission,” said Tribunal president Luis Antonio Sobrado, who recently appeared before the seven-member Electoral Reforms Commission.

Reforms wouldn’t come in time for the Oct. 7 referendum on the controversial Central American Free-Trade Agreement with the United States (CAFTA), Costa Rica’s first referendum in modern history and possibly the first in the work on a freetrade treaty.

Some 80 countries in the world, including 10 in Latin America, allow for absentee voting, Sobrado said. He added that the lack of absentee voting is a “significant defect” in the Costa Rican electoral system, which is otherwise a “model and example for Latin America.”

The Commission is considering putting polling places in the 54 Costa Rican consulates so that the 200,000 Costa Ricans living abroad will be able to vote. The question is how soon.

The Tribunal has suggested a pilot plan to open voting booths in foreign communities with the highest concentrations of  Costa Ricans by the next presidential electionsin 2010. But Maureen Patricia Ballesteros, a National Liberation Party (PLN) legislator on the Commission, said all Costa Ricans living abroad should be able to vote by 2010 – perhaps even electronically.

“This would not be any more complicated than opening a voting booth in (the province of) Limón or anywhere else,” she said. “Of course, it would be more expensive. But the Tribunal must make room in its budget so that this is feasible…It’s a right.”

In an appearance before the Commission last week, Minister of Foreign Relations Bruno Stagno said the reforms to the Electoral Code should specify whether migration status will affect the voting rights of Costa Ricans living in other countries.

About half Costa Ricans living abroad are concentrated in four states in the United States, Stagno  said.Many live there illegally.

Costa Rica does not have diplomatic representation in Africa or Oceania; most of its embassies and consulates are concentrated in Latin America, the U.S. and Europe.

 

You may be interested

Costa Rica approves law punishing street sexual harassment with jail and fines
Costa Rica
5805 views
Costa Rica
5805 views

Costa Rica approves law punishing street sexual harassment with jail and fines

AFP and The Tico Times - July 14, 2020

Costa Rica's Legislative Assembly on Tuesday passed a law that criminalizes street sexual harassment and punishes it with prison terms…

Costa Rica coronavirus updates for July 14, 2020
Costa Rica
21358 views
Costa Rica
21358 views

Costa Rica coronavirus updates for July 14, 2020

Alejandro Zúñiga - July 14, 2020

Costa Rica confirmed 446 new cases of the coronavirus over the past day, totaling 8,482 cumulative known cases, the Health…

Panama hospitals on verge of collapse as virus cases surge
Latin America
1220 views
Latin America
1220 views

Panama hospitals on verge of collapse as virus cases surge

Juan José Rodríguez / AFP - July 14, 2020

Hospitals in Panama are on the brink of collapse as coronavirus cases spike in the Central American country worst hit…