According to the Federal Voting Assistance Program, there are 2.9 million Americans eligible to vote from abroad. But their turnout is consistently low — about 7 percent in the last presidential election in 2016, compared with 60.2 percent domestically.
As an American living abroad for the past seventeen years, I can attest to the difficulty of voting from abroad. While living in the Middle East during the 2012 election cycle, my ballot materials from Washington State arrived too late for me to vote. I was quite upset, but realized I should have requested my absentee ballot materials as early as possible.
My experience was very different from that of my Australian colleagues who simply drove to their nearest consulate on a weekend to vote in person. Imagine the common sense of holding elections on weekends when people would be more likely to show up and vote, rather than a working Tuesday as is the case in the USA!
What all this means is that as Americans living abroad we must be much more organized and vigilant if we want our votes to be counted. 2020 is anything but a normal election year and the Trump Administration is doing everything within its power to limit voting rights since it’s their belief that the more Americans that cast ballots, the lower their chances of winning the election.
If you’re living abroad and want to make sure your vote counts, NOW is the time to take action. Here is a link to votefromabroad.org with further helpful links to all the voting rules and regulations for each US state. Take advantage of your right to cast a ballot for the kind of country you want to represent as a US citizen living abroad.