Overseas Disenfranchisement
Americans living abroad face unique challenges when trying to vote. Between three and seven million U.S. citizens live abroad--this includes soldiers and their families, students studying at foreign universities, and residents of Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands.

Although efforts have been made in recent years to ensure that military voters are able to participate in elections, these efforts often fall short. In some cases, registrations are not processed. In others, absentee ballots arrive late to soldiers, making it difficult to return them by Election Day; sometimes ballots do not arrive at all. 

Unlike military voters, other U.S. citizens living abroad do not receive the same extent of support when registering to vote. Since voter registration is handled individually by each state, an American living abroad must register with an individual state.  In some cases a state will reject the application of an expatriate.  This is typically the case with children of American families living abroad who may be denied the ability to vote when they come of voting age.

American citizens living in Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Virgin Islands can be drafted into the military, but they are unable to vote for their commander in chief and are only entitled to elect a non-voting representative to Congress.

For more information about military and overseas voting, visit The Overseas Vote Foundation.

Articles on Overseas Voters
October 29th 2006
IRV will give military more time to vote
Tacoma News Tribune

Pierce County resident supports Amendment 3 to implement instant runoff voting to allow overseas military more time to vote absentee.

August 15th 2006
Soldiers deserve voting rights, too
Charlotte Observer

About one in every four of our military personnel serving overseas will be disenfranchised this year, according to the National Defense Committee.

October 11th 2004
Vote Drive Targets Troops Overseas
Chicago Tribune

September 21st 2004
Pentagon Restricts Overseas Access to Voter Registration Site
USA Today

September 1st 2004
Hurdles Remain for American Voters Who Live Overseas
New York Times

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