Funes moving forward on vote for Salvadorans abroad
Mauricio Funes is moving forward with plans to make it possible for Salvadorans outside of the country to vote beginning with the 2014 presidential elections. He first announced his intentions in June. Americas Quarterly describes Funes most recent declarations on the importance of absentee voting:
President Mauricio Funes yesterday announced his support for changes to El Salvador’s electoral laws that would allow Salvadorans living abroad to vote in national elections. At an event in celebration of El Salvador’s national Independence Day, Funes emphasized: "I do not exaggerate when I say that the institutionalization of absentee voting is a historical necessity... we are not a true democracy until the one-third of Salvadorans living outside the country have a voice in our elections.”More than 2 million Salvadorans live outside the country, primarily in the US. Another way of looking at this -- of every person alive today who was born in El Salvador, 1 out of every 4 lives outside of the country. Their labor results in remittances sent back to El Salvador totaling $2.4 billion in the first 8 months of 2011. Those funds sent by Salvadorans living abroad, represent 1/6th of El Salvador's economy. Funes proposes to give this large and economically important segment of Salvadoran citizens the right to vote on the future of the country they support.
According to Funes, his government has requested technical advice from the United Nations and will strive to make all necessary changes before national elections in 2014. One component of the effort will be the modernization of El Salvador’s national identity card, Documento Único de Identidad (DUI), which Salvadorans living in the United States will be able to acquire at their closest consulate.