Lack of Americans in Israel voted in 2016 Election

Only 6.9% of eligible American voters living in Israel actually returned their ballot in the 2016 General Election.  Were you one of the American voters who did not vote?  Your vote was missed. By your not voting, Israel now ranks #7 (down from #4) of countries where Americans voted.  According to the Federal Government’s most recent OCPA report, the “top 10” countries are Canada, UK, Mexico, France, Japan, Australia, Israel, Germany, Italy, and South Korea.

The most recent OCPA report details U.S. citizens abroad and their voting behaviors in 2016. https://www.fvap.gov/info/reports-surveys/overseas-citizen-population-analysis

“Nobody will ever deprive the American people of the right to vote except the American people themselves and the only way they could do this is by not voting.” Franklin D. Roosevelt

With less than 2 months remaining to vote in the American Midterm Elections, what are you waiting for?  This election 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.

YOU are eligible to vote: if you are a US citizen, over 18 years on election day. Voting is based on where you last lived in the United States, or if born overseas where your parents last lived.

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.

Voting from overseas is very easyEach state has their own voting laws, so it is important to make sure you follow your state’s regulations and Absentee Ballot Request deadline.  If you have a computer, you can fill out an Absentee Ballot Request online.  Complete the form, save, print, sign, and return to your state according to instructions.

Ballots are usually emailed or mailed out 45 days before the Election.  Twenty-two states allow email of ballots.  I vote from Nevada.   All I do is print ballot, fill it out, sign, scan, and email back with an authorization allowing email of ballot.  I even receive a confirmation of receipt by my Election Office.  How easy is that?

If your state requires you to mail your ballot, allow time for “snail mail”.  In order to help you, the Embassy and Tel Aviv Branch have an “Embassy mail bag to the States”; however, they recommend you bring them your ballot 30 days before the Election.  The materials must be sealed and properly addressed to the local board of elections, town clerk, city clerk, or other local administrative official in order to send them through the Consulate’s mail facility. All envelopes must be postage-paid or bear correct U.S. postage.

What happens if you don’t receive your ballot?   No time to panic, just fill out a Federal Write-in Ballot (FWAB) The FWAB is an alternative ballot for overseas and uniformed services voters whose ballots are late.  Your Election Official will be happy to answer any of your questions.

Never Resided in the States?  The following states allow U.S. citizens who are 18 years or older and were born abroad, but have never resided in the United States to be eligible to vote absentee:  Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Delaware, District of Columbia, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming

For registered voters the following states allow a voter to  “Vote in Honor of a Veteran”:   California, Colorado, Florida (by country), Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Main, Minnesota, Nebraska, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina (Charleston County only), Tennessee, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia.    A wonderful program to honor the men and women who fight for the freedom of all Americans and citizens around the world.  Once you fill out your state’s form, they might send you a printable certificate, bumper sticker and/or lapel pin.  New states are being added.

YOUR VOTE IS YOUR VOICE

By voting, you can HIRE or FIRE elected officials that pass laws that impact Americans around the world.  The choice is yours, shall you speak up or allow others to speak for you?  Your vote might be the vote that will help Israel to return to the #4 Country where Overseas Voters vote.  AACIESRA, and LiAmi of Keep Olim in Israel Facebook page are all working hard to encourage ALL Americans in Israel to vote.

If you have any questions, contact Andee Goldman at votingfromabroad@gmail.com   https://www.overseasvotefoundation.org/vote/home.htm

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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