Jamie Duong is shown in Toronto, Monday, Feb.3, 2014. Canada’s top court will decide today on the validity of a now-repealed law that barred long-term Canadian expats from voting. Two Canadians living in the U.S., including Duong, launched the challenge to part of the Canada Elections Act.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Diana Mehta

Supreme Court rules restrictions on expat voting unconstitutional

The country’s top court said the restriction could not be justified

The Supreme Court of Canada has ruled a law that had restricted voting rights for long-term expats for the last 25 years was unconstitutional.

In a ruling today, the country’s top court said the restriction could not be justified.

The court said the idea of electoral fairness advanced by the government was vague.

The case was brought by two Canadians who have lived for years in the United States.

They maintained a 1993 law barring expats abroad for more than five years from voting violated their charter rights to vote.

The Liberal government scrapped the ban last month but the long-running case proceeded.

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Jamie Duong, of Ithaca, N.Y., and Gill Frank, of Richmond, Va., argued nothing warranted the abridgment of their constitutional right to vote.

They insisted they maintain deep ties to Canada, and taxes and other laws passed by Parliament could still affect them.

They initially succeeded in court but lost on appeal, prompting the Supreme Court to weigh in.

The Liberal government did away with the ban last month but the court case proceeded.

The Canadian Press

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