American Mid-Term Elections 2018

Many overseas Americans are unaware that they can vote in the Federal Mid-Term Election. Some don’t think their vote even matters, or that it is too hard.

YOU are eligible to vote: if you are a US citizen, over 18 years on election day, and not disqualified by your state.  Midterm elections in 2018 will decide the composition and balance of power within Congress. All 435 seats in the United States House of Representatives and 33 of the 100 seats in the United States Senate will be contested.

What determines if you are an “overseas” or “domestic” voter and does it make a difference?  On your Absentee Ballot Request, if you check the box, “I am a US Citizen living outside the country, and my return is uncertain”, then you are an “overseas voter” and can only vote in Federal Elections for Congress, Senate, and President.   Domestic voters, who live overseas, and intend to return are eligible to vote for Federal, State, and City.

Why should you vote? “Voting is important no matter in any US election.  Americans overseas should ensure that they are heard and the most direct way is through their right to vote. There are members of Congress interested in overseas American issues. ACA’s work on tax reform has increased the awareness in both Legislative and Administrative offices up on Capitol Hill.  The community can support these efforts by voting and engaging with their Representatives”  American Citizens Abroad

The Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA) was enacted by Congress in 1986. Each state has their own voting laws and Primary Election dates.   The first two state primaries are Texas (March 6) and Illinois (March 20).  The General Election is November 6.  As an Overseas Voter, you should register each calendar year that you intend to vote.

Keith Redmond, an American based in Paris, has been advocating on behalf of Americans overseas for the past few years, “It is critical to augment the number of Americans overseas who are registered and who vote.  We must have a substantial block of voters in order to have a voice regarding draconian polices damaging Americans overseas like FATCA (Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act) and Citizenship Based Taxation for Individuals.”

“Briefly, what I can say is that special elections and midterm elections can change the makeup of the House and Senate.  Just look at the recent Alabama special election for Senator.  It’s very, very close.  Overseas ballots can either reinforce or change the results.  It doesn’t matter which side you are on to see how important that is…Republicans will want to retain the majority.  Democrats will want to overturn it.  Your overseas ballot counts.”  Ellen Williams Lebelle, AARO

Secretary of State offices are reaching out to try encourage overseas voters.  State Election Director Colorado Secretary of State’s Office, Judd Choate,   “The Virginia House District 94 outcome is yet another example of the extraordinary power of a single vote.  The vote of a person living overseas or protecting our country in the armed services has exactly the same value as the president’s vote, a governor’s vote, or my vote.  And, elections really do come down to a single vote. “

“The midterm elections are always important … Your vote DOES count – Nevada has one of the highest ballot return rates and percentage of ballots counted for military and overseas voters.” – NV Secretary of State Barbara K. Cegavske

Both Democrats Abroad and Republican Overseas are very active around the world to educate and encourage voters on tax reform, FATCA, and other laws passed that impact overseas voters.

Democrats Abroad-Israel is under the leadership of Heather Stone whose goal is to raise awareness and educating voters on issues in US elections.  “As we gear up to the 2018 midterm elections, we are having monthly gatherings around the country with speakers.”  Heather can be reached at hstone3@wellesley.edu

Chair for the Democratic party abroad, Julia Bryan, who lives in Czech Republic, says “Americans abroad should vote in the 2018 mid-term elections because the margin of victory lives abroad, and we must make sure we bring that margin home.”

“Republicans Overseas, Senator Rand Paul, Republican Overseas Israel and others recently filed a petition for the US Supreme Court to review the FATCA law that has made the lives of Americans overseas so difficult. Congress passed historic tax reform, but FATCA Repeal was omitted.  Another reason why voting from overseas is extremely important.”  Marc Zell, Chair of Republican Overseas-Israel. mzell@fandz.com   gopisrael@gmail.com

Voting is not difficult.  If you have a computer, visit www.overseasvote.org to register to vote and request a ballot today!   Your vote will affect how America runs by voting for Congress and Senate!!

Voting questions? Andee Goldman can be reached at votingfromabroad@gmail.com or US Vote’s help desk.

About the Author
Andee Goldman moved to Israel in 2006 from Las Vegas, Nevada. Since 2008, she has volunteered with Overseas Vote; which offers online voting information for your state, candidate information, contact information for your local election office, absentee ballot request form with information on how to return, and much more. Andee is available to answer your voting questions at votingfromabroad@gmail.com
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