Voting From Abroad

With over 7 million US citizens living abroad, absentee ballots can really make a difference on election day. Although I haven't lived in Florida for 4 years, I still send in my absentee ballot every 2 years and proudly haven't missed an election since I was 18 years old. Obviously I don't live there anymore, but it still makes sense for me as a Floridian to remain as politically active as I can. I still care, after all.

Florida's procedure for getting an absentee ballot is pretty straight forward because they will email you a copy, and you can fax it right back to your particular Supervisor of Elections. The entire process of receiving a ballot, researching the issues/candidates, and sending it back took me about 30 minutes last week. I know every state is different and some might be more difficult, but it's worthwhile to figure out your state's procedures!

This video gives lots of good reasons to vote, even for non-expats

So, why bother? There are many reasons why expats should vote! Many Americans living abroad are only doing so temporarily, and will probably return someday, so you are voting on your own future. Voting affects your community, your friends and family, and possibly assets as well. Living outside of America doesn't make me less of an American, if anything it has boosted my pride as a representative of my country abroad. We expats are valuable to our countries, as we increase interconnectedness, provide a diversity of perspectives, and promote global thinking upon our return home. If anything, living abroad makes us MORE informed about what is going on in our native countries because we actively seek out news of what's happening back home. Expats are familiar with other ways of living so we may have a broader knowledge base to use in making informed decisions about certain policies and initiatives. Also, I still have an American passport, birth certificate, and social security number, all of which come with certain rights that I intend to exercise.

My Floridian absentee ballot

I'm a huge advocate of voting (duh) even if you are living in the United States. Say what you will, the government provides so many services and protections to its citizens, and the least you can do as an American citizen is participate in voting every two years.

So in a nutshell, that's why I vote even though I am an American living abroad!


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