For countries such as Albania and Kosovo, including diaspora in political processes represents an important tool to maintain connections with its citizens abroad. For the diaspora, voting is also a means of preserving national belonging and of strengthening ethnic identity. Out of the different aspects of a country of origin in which the diaspora should be closely involved, political participation is probably one of the most important ones. In this regard, voting is not only the most important form of political participation but also the best way to make the voice of the diaspora heard. Also, providing opportunities for exercising the right to vote indicates the State’s interest in treating all citizens equally, regardless of their location.
Goals of GERMIN regarding Diaspora Voting:
- Increase the number of Out-of-country voters in Kosova, and support the processes to enhance the diaspora voting processes;
- Support the Electoral Reform in Albania, which will allow the Diaspora members to vote in the national elections in Albania.;
- Inform the Diaspora members about their voting rights and electoral participation;
- Support the Increase the representation of the Diaspora members in the policy-making processes.
- Diaspora Flet Conference (2018, 2020, 2023) – a four-day conference that gathered over 1,000+ diaspora members from over 24 countries worldwide to cooperate towards a structured dialogue between them and institutions in their home countries.
- In 2019, GERMIN was part of the parliamentary working group for amending the Law on Elections, which was initiated by the Committee on Legislation, Mandates, Immunities, Rules of Procedure of the Assembly and the Oversight of the Anti-Corruption Agency; the initiation of the law amendment came as a direct demand from diaspora representatives during the conference in the Parliament of Kosovo.
- The Diaspora Task Force (2017-2018) proposed numerous amendments to the draft law, including voting in embassies and consulates and mailing votes to the respective country embassies instead of mail to Kosovo; the constitutional elections rights, most of which were adopted in the Kosova’s General Election Law Amendment in 2023.
- Open letter to the Prime Minister of Albania, Mr Edi Rama and Minister of State for Diaspora, Mr Pandeli Majko, to include the Out of the country voting in Albania’s New Electoral Reform (2019).