01/06/2015 04:00 EST | Updated 03/07/2015 05:59 EST

Feds in court today fighting against long-term expats' right to vote

TORONTO - Ontario's top court begins grappling today with the issue of whether long-term Canadian expats should have the right to vote.

Ottawa is appealing a lower court ruling that says they do have that right.

In that earlier decision, a judge declared a section of the Canada Elections Act unconstitutional.

That section barred those living abroad for more than five years from voting in federal elections.

Ottawa says the restriction is justified in a free and democratic society.

Two expats, however, argue the five-year cut-off is arbitrary and unreasonable.