Liberians will go to the polls in October 2023 to vote for the President and legislators, but one question remains: will diaspora Liberians vote in the upcoming elections?

Liberia joined a small group of African countries in lifting the ban on dual citizenship, allowing Liberians aged 18 and up who have acquired the citizenship of another country to reclaim their Liberian citizenship.

This measure was not possible years ago because dual citizenship was illegal in Liberia. Lawmakers and policymakers alike were hesitant to legalize dual citizenship, arguing that dual citizens’ patriotism could be called into question.

After years of prohibition, the Senate and House of Representatives finally saw the value in allowing the Liberian diaspora to hold dual citizenship.

However, they did so with some limitations to protect the rights of those who do not hold dual citizenship.

The lawmakers claim that the restrictions strike a balance between assuaging domestic concerns and advancing the aspirations of Liberians abroad.

They also claim that they will lessen public resentment of dual citizenship that results from socioeconomic disparities in Liberia.

This balancing prevents prospective dual citizens from holding important positions that have an impact on national security, law enforcement, and the economy, as is the case in many African countries with similar laws.

Dual nationality Liberians, on the other hand, will retain some of the rights and benefits that come with being a Liberian citizen, as well as being eligible for certain (but not all) governmental positions.

“A Liberian citizen who holds citizenship for another country shall be ineligible for any elective public office while still a citizen of another country,” the legislature stated in repealing the Aliens and Nationality Law.

“If such a person desires to contest, the person must renounce the citizenship of the other country at least one year before applying to the National Elections Commission (NEC) to contest, along with documentary evidence of such renunciation from the country and filed with a circuit court in Liberia.”

“In addition, a Liberian citizen who holds the citizenship of another country may not be appointed to the public offices of Minister of Finance and Development Planning, Minister of Defense, or Executive Governor of the Central Bank of Liberia.”

Separately, the Senate and House voted to amend the 1973 Alien and Nationality Act, which conflicted with the country’s 1986 Constitution.

In its previous form, the Alien and Nationality Law prohibited Liberian citizen women from passing on citizenship to their children born abroad.

Because of the signing of the Dual Citizenship Bill, Liberians in the diaspora will be able to vote in the October 2023 elections.

The United Nations adopted a resolution on December 10, 1948, making the right to vote a human right.

Article 80 Section ‘C’ of the 1986 Constitution states, among other things, that one can vote in person or by absentee ballot.

 According to Alfred Sieh, Chair of ALCOD’s Exploratory Committee on Out-of-Country Voting, “absentee voting” ensures that diaspora Liberians can vote from anywhere in the world.

He went on to say that “absentee voting” gives them (diaspora Liberians) the assurance that they can vote from anywhere in the world.

However, the law does grant privilege to voting outside of Liberia

We contacted the National Elections Commission legal section Teage Jalloh said dual citizens with valid voter cards would vote.


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