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You’re an American Living in Israel, Why Should You Vote in American Elections?

When I canvass for U.S. voting on the streets of Tel Aviv, Americans living in Israel frequently ask me, “Why should I vote in American elections? I live in Israel now.”

Well, there are quite a few reasons.  First, Americans are required to file tax returns with the IRS annually (whether they owe taxes or not).  The thirteen American colonies fought a war for independence based on the principle of “no taxation without representation.”  As dual U.S. citizens, we should continue to follow that principle. If we are required to report our taxes to the U.S. government – and many of us do pay U.S. taxes — we should have a say in how those taxes are spent. We have the right to elect representatives who support policies we believe in because those policies still affect us.

Every American citizen, regardless of where they live around the world is entitled to vote for federal officers – members of the House of Representatives, Senators and of course President and Vice President. In some states they can also vote for state and local officials.  (If Americans living overseas fill out their FPCA form indicating they intend to return to the U.S., they will likely receive a full ballot allowing them to vote for state and local officials in most states.)

The U.S. Federal Government sets international policy on global climate policy, U.S.-Israel relations, and Social Security. These policies all impact our lives here in Israel.  Many Americans in Israel are entitled to receive Social Security based on their work history in the U.S. Others working remotely for U.S. companies are still paying into the system. They all have a vested interest in voting for representatives who support the program and oppose divesting it.

Votes from abroad provided the margin of victory in key swing states such as Georgia and Arizona in 2020.  Your vote has meaning in every state, in every district.  I’ve heard people say their votes in New York races don’t matter, but in the 2022 midterms, New York’s congressional delegation flipped to Red and George Santos was elected, giving the control of the House of Representatives to the GOP.

In short, if you are an American living in Israel, it is critical that you cast your ballot in the November 2024 election. The process is painless.  Go to www.votefromabroad.org NOW. The interactive form will walk you through the process for your home state.  Complete the registration and ballot request form – many states accept the form and sent the ballot via email — and be ready to vote in November.

Be part of the process and make your voice heard.  Not everyone in Israel has the right to affect U.S.-Israel relations but as a dual U.S.-Israel citizen you have the ability make an impact in the relationship of our two countries.

About the Author
Heather Stone is a frequent commentator on Israeli and international media about Democratic Party politics in the United States. Heather is visually impaired following brain surgery in 2017 and is learning to navigate the world differently. She worked for leading law firms in Tel Aviv for more than 20 years, and has expertise in international mergers and acquisitions law.