Every Vote Counts in the 2024 Lithuanian Citizenship Referendum

  • referendum
    by adv. Dainius Ambrazaitis

    Dear Esteemed Client,

     

    As a valued member of the Lithuanian diaspora, you possess the unique privilege and responsibility to partake in our nation’s democratic processes, thanks to your reinstated Lithuanian citizenship. This year, an opportunity arises for you to significantly impact the future of Lithuania and its citizens both at home and abroad.

     

    On May 12, 2024, Lithuania will conduct a pivotal referendum alongside the first round of the presidential election. The referendum’s question is straightforward yet profound: Should individuals who have acquired Lithuanian citizenship by birth retain their citizenship upon acquiring the citizenship of another country that is friendly to Lithuania? This issue directly impacts the ability of our post-1990 emigrants to maintain their ties with our homeland through dual citizenship, a matter close to the heart of our diaspora community.

     

    As you may be aware, current legislation restricts dual citizenship, particularly for those who emigrated after Lithuania’s restoration of independence on March 11, 1990. Your own Lithuanian citizenship, obtained through descent from ancestors who emigrated before 1990, wasn’t hindered by these regulations. However, amending the constitution to allow dual citizenship more broadly would strengthen our global Lithuanian community, reflecting a modern, inclusive, and forward-looking national identity.

     

    The push for dual citizenship has significant backing, with a previous referendum showing 74% support. However, for a successful amendment, more than 50% of all eligible voters must favor the change, not just a majority of referendum participants. Despite falling short previously, the narrow margin and renewed campaign efforts present a hopeful outlook for this referendum.

     

    Voting Abroad – What You Need to Know:

     

    All Lithuanian citizens aged 18 or older living or temporarily staying abroad with voting rights are encouraged to participate in the May, 2024 elections and referendum.

     

    Registration is required for all wishing to vote abroad, whether in person or by post. Please register at https://www.rinkejopuslapis.lt, even if you were previously registered. This system is your gateway to being included on the electoral roll of your nearest diplomatic mission or consular office.

     

    If you lack a valid passport or ID card, you can still register and vote using an expired document, provided you haven’t lost your Lithuanian citizenship.

     

    Important deadlines: For postal voting, please be mindful of the registration deadlines specific to your location:

    • Embassy in Australia, Consulate in São Paulo, and Embassy in Israel: Deadline is April 13th.
    • Embassy South Africa (Pretoria): Deadline is April 20th.
    • Embassy in Canada: Deadline is April 26th.
    • Embassy in the USA: Deadline is April 29th.
    • Embassy in the United Kingdom: Deadline is May 3rd.

     

    For in-person voting in 2024, numerous diplomatic missions and consular posts will host voting, alongside special locations like the Lithuanian World Centre in Lemont, USA, and the Honorary Consulate General in Toronto, Canada. Additional polling stations will be available in several cities for the May 12th elections and referendum, with specific locations to be announced.

     

    For those in countries without Lithuanian representation, postal voting is your option. Please register on the electoral role of the representation that covers your country. Note that the responsibility for returning voting documents may fall on you in such cases.

     

    This referendum is not just a matter of policy; it’s about honoring our heritage and ensuring every Lithuanian, wherever they may be, can maintain their connection to our homeland. Your vote is a testament to the value you place on your Lithuanian identity and your belief in a diverse and unified Lithuanian community worldwide.

     

    Should you need any assistance or have questions, I am at your service. It would also fill me with immense pride to hear of your participation and to see you encouraging others within our community to lend their voices to this cause.

     

    With the deepest respect and anticipation for our shared democratic engagement,

    Dainius Ambrazaitis

    Advocate, IN JURE Law Firm

     

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