Research reveals US expats’ thoughts on voting while abroad

by Ray Clancy on May 28, 2015

Expat Americans have revealed they don’t feel well-represented by the US government, but many do not bother to vote in elections even if they can do so, research has found.

There are an estimated 7.6 million Americans living abroad but a poll has found that only 58% of them voted in the last Presidential election and 86% don’t feel well-represented.

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Only 56% of US expats voted in the last Presidential election, survey finds

US expats don’t vote for a variety of reasons, the survey by Greenback Expat Tax Services shows. Some 15% didn’t know how to vote while living abroad, 9% didn’t feel their vote would make a difference and 10% didn’t feel that voting as an expat was important.

According to the firm’s co-founder David McKeegan, this highlights a clear need for education on the voting process for US expats with clear communication as to why and how their vote could make a difference in the US election next year.

He pointed out that the numbers involved are significant. Indeed, US expats represent a larger community than the entire populations of Rhode Island, Montana, Delaware, South Dakota, North Dakota, Alaska, the District of Columbia, Vermont and Wyoming put together.

‘Our survey indicates that with the major issues US expats are facing, including tax compliancy, FATCA and FBAR reporting regulations and a feeling of being under-represented, it stands to reason that they may be more inclined to vote if a candidate actively addresses their concerns and lobbies for positive change on their behalf,’ said McKeegan.

According to the American Citizens Abroad Global Foundation (ACAGF), which focusses on educational matters to promote the interests of Americans abroad, the survey shows a growing dissatisfaction with US tax laws, such as Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA), a major US initiative to uncover US taxpayers hiding money overseas to avoid paying American taxes.

FATCA requires individuals to report their offshore assets if they exceed certain thresholds and foreign financial institutions are now required to report information about the accounts of their American clients to the US. This reportedly is resulting in banking issues for US expats, as some foreign financial institutions are choosing not to do business with Americans to avoid the hassle of FATCA’s special due diligence and reporting requirements.

The survey found that only 34% of US expats surveyed are not currently affected by FATCA, while 36% of respondents will need to file additional tax forms due to FATCA regulations. Indeed, 13% of respondents cited issues with their foreign bank.

‘The results of the survey are very important to the work that ACAGF and American Citizens Abroad are doing on behalf of Americans living and working overseas. Identifying the problem areas and the concerns of this community helps better formulate policy,’ said Marylouise Serrato, executive director of ACA.

According to Charles Bruce, ACAGF chairman, it is important to identify the issues facing the community of Americans living and working overseas. ‘Better understanding of our members’ and supporters’ issues helps us educate everyone, including Congress, as to the real needs of Americans living and working overseas,’ he said.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Collette Desmarais July 4, 2015 at 2:19 am

The organization who did the survey to determine why Americans don’t vote, omitted the primary compelling reason for not voting: the Election Voting Process in the United States is rife with corruption. Yes, that’s right folks: the table is tilted; the game is rigged. Why bother going to the trouble of registering one’s vote when it won’t affect the outcome in any way whatsoever? It just rubs me the wrong way to vote anymore; knowing that most assuredly, the miscreants behind the curtains will be laughing at us as though we are fools, to think our votes would count. Like they’ve gotten over on us – which they have.

There were clear indications of the overt cheating in the 2000 Election, when Bush Jr. won an election in which he clearly was not the favorite. Then Bush Jr. again, in 2004; sealed the election – not by a landslide – but by applying bullying measures and lots of payola to see to it that he’d “win.” (Can you imagine that? Not being able to win unless you bribe, cheat; and pay a staff that applies bullying measures? How embarrassing! Betcha he was hell in the sandbox.)

Then, 2008 came along and Bush Jr. couldn’t run again, so Obama ran – and many of us really believed in his “Hope & Change” story. That’s exactly what it was: a “story.” But, my; he is a smooth orator (didn’t they say the same thing about Hitler?).

The next election was 2012, and the cheating entered the arena when the Republican nomination was whittled down between Mitt Romney and the fine and noble gentleman, Ron Paul. That was our last chance – if they hadn’t cheated Ron Paul out of the Republican nomination, he definitely would have beat Obama – and not only America, but the entire world would have been fundamentally changed for the better. For, Ron Paul had a 30-year track record of doing what he says he’ll do. He had an outstanding plan for economic recovery. His directive was to return the country to the rule of The Constitution – and the deliberately distorted mainstream media called that “crazy” – because he was such an ethical human, they couldn’t get him on anything bad. He would have brought all troops home immediately – in fact, the entire Veterans of America organization backed him. Thousands of Veterans from all over America traveled to Washinton D.C. and marched through the city to arrive on the White House front lawn, in a cadence call shouting “President Paul!” He would abolish The Patriot Act because of it’s unconstitutionality; phase out IRS and Income Tax; audit the Federal Reserve; eliminate five unecessary government agencies that don’t do anything but suck up money. He believed in NO WAR – but solving conflicts with other nations via peaceful resolution. Needless to say, the Powers That Be couldn’t have all that – how would they be able to keep putting our money in their pockets and keep up with all their misdoings if Ron Paul was at the helm? No; they couldn’t have that. The election fraud in the 2012 run undoubtedly revealed the most blatant cheating yet – and they still got away with it. Like Ron Paul has said, “Our Founding Fathers would be ashamed of us, for what we’re putting up with!” When Ron Paul was so clearly cheated, it was repleat with lost hope and shattered dreams for a good future for all Americans. Why bother vote and let them make fools of us again? Why keep on pretending we have a fair election process when we don’t? Obama promised as part of his campaign in 2012, that the very first thing he’d do would be to bring the troops home; just like Ron Paul was going to do. You know what happened? The day after Obama “won” the election, he issued an order for even more troops to be sent overseas; and they are still there today – at least, the ones who have not died. I’ve got news for you all – it’s not about “not knowing how to vote”, or any of the other made-up reasons why we don’t care to vote anymore – we don’t vote anymore because our votes are irrelevant. They’ll just put in whoever will “go along to get along” and will play games with the capitol hill gang – and we ain’t in the club.

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