ELECTIONS NATIONALITY OF WOMAN AMERICAN NATIONAL MARRIED TO BRITISH SUBJECT: WHETHER COMPELLED TO ENROL AND VOTE AT COMMONWEALTH ELECTIONS: EFFECT OF RETENTION OF AMERICAN NATIONALITY
Nationality Act 1920 ss 16, 18: Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 ss 42, 128, 128A
The Chief Electoral Officer has forwarded me the following memorandum for advice:
I shall be pleased to be advised:
- as to whether the status, as a British subject, of [Mrs M.], obtained by marriage to a British subject (section 16 of the Nationality Act), is affected by her alleged right to retain her American nationality; and
- whether, assuming she is otherwise qualified she is compellable to become enrolled and to vote at Commonwealth Elections (sections 42 and 128A of the Commonwealth Electoral Act).
The matter of Mrs M.’s nationality in the Commonwealth is governed by Commonwealth law, viz., the Nationality Act 1920–1925.
Section 18 of that Act provides that the wife of a British subject shall be deemed to be a British subject.
It is quite possible that Mrs M. may, by American law, be an American, but that fact does not, assuming she is married to a British subject, affect her status as a British subject under the Act above quoted. Hers would be a case of dual nationality, instances of which are not uncommon.
If she were an American as well as a British subject, that fact would not affect her obligations under sections 42 and 128 of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918–1925.
[Vol. 23, p. 691]