The US Election Could Be Decided by People Abroad

September 27, 2016

Voting around the world

High Stakes

Regardless of your party or candidate, it’s safe to say that the country, and the world, has a lot riding on the upcoming US presidential election. 

Presidential elections tend to increase turnout all across the country, compared to off-year elections, but even so, the number of voters who head to the polls tends to vary dramatically state by state. In 2012, for example, Minnesota topped the charts with a sparkling 76.1% turnout, while Hawaii had a meager 44.5%.

But the state that had the lowest voter turnout wasn’t even a state.


Americans Abroad

Although the exact number is hard to pin down, it’s generally accepted that there are about 8 million Americans living in other countries (not counting members of the military and federal employees).

If expatriate Americans had their own state, it’d be the nation’s 13th largest. Just a little larger than Washington and a little smaller than Virginia.

Most expat Americans live in Canada or Mexico, with the next highest number concentrated in Europe, especially Britain.

But here’s the thing: the turnout among this community is worryingly low—just 12% in the 2012 presidential election.  


We All Must Participate

It’s estimated that there are about 5 million eligible voters among the 8 million Americans abroad. We’ve seen how many elections are decided by a small number of votes, so the impact expat Americans could make, nationally and locally, is enormous.

In fact, studies have shown that they HAVE had a big influence on recent elections. So, why don’t more of them vote? Many say that the process is too cumbersome or confusing.


Get Registered or Request a Ballot

That’s where our friends at Avaaz come in. In partnership with the non-partisan Overseas Vote Foundation, Avaaz has created an easy and sharable online tool to help expatriate voters request a ballot and have their voices heard back home.


Spread the Word!

Election Day is drawing nearer and nearer, as are many states’ deadlines for voter registration. So help us spread the word by letting your expat friends and families, no matter where they are in the world, know how easy it is to do the single most American thing they could possibly do: Vote

Share this page with your friends abroad who may need a nudge!