Hungarians who have left the country to work or study often find voting from abroad a challenge due to the difficulties imposed by the government. But Hungarian Spring is hoping to persuade Hungarians residing in the US, Western Europe, and other parts of the Western world of the value of registering and voting in the county’s parliamentary elections on April 3.
Hungarian Spring’s website and associated campaign are backed by a newly-registered U.S. organization, Action for Democracy, which has been set up to promote global campaigns that mobilize progressives and liberals against ruling illiberal regimes. Focusing on Hungary’s election at the moment, they will turn their attention to Brazil in the fall, then Poland’s election next year.
At the head of Action for Democracy is Dávid Korányi, formerly a chief advisor to the Prime Minister Gordon Bajnai and now in charge of international relations for Budapest Mayor Gergely Karácsony.
As part of the Hungarian Spring campaign, the organizers are planning election parties in major European cities to motivate those living there to vote.
Website Provides Guidance on Registering to Vote
Hungarian Spring also offers guidance to compatriots outside Hungary on how to start the voter registration process. Those without a permanent Hungarian address have until March 9 to register, while those who maintain an address in Hungary have a March 25 deadline to submit their voting registration information to the government.
Only 55,000 Hungarians abroad who maintain a permanent Hungarian address voted in the 2018 election, which Korányi believes is a small number compared to how many of them are eligible to vote. As he told 444, if hundreds of thousands of this group were to vote this year, it could sway the outcome of some key electoral districts where the races are close.
Korányi also believes that some of their initiatives will be supported within Hungary as well, such as counterbalancing the dominance of the pro-government media in rural parts of the country.
The Advisory Board for Action for Democracy Advisory Board includes members such as historians and political scientists Francis Fukuyama, Timothy Garton Ash, Anne Applebaum, and Timothy Snyder, former NATO Supreme Allied Commander Gen. Wesley Clark, former U.S. Ambassador to Hungary Eleni Kounalakis, former British Foreign Secretary David Miliband, Warsaw Mayor Rafał Trzaskowski, and Hong Kong human rights activist Simon Cheng. Their illustrious roster suggests an ability to muster major resources to support the organization’s aims.