Why is the #votefromabroad so important this year? Let’s look at the numbers and a few salient issues. 1/
NUMBERS -- The margin of victory in key US contests is often less than the total of overseas voters who are eligible to cast ballots in those elections. If a significant portion of citizens abroad exercised their right to vote, they could tip the scales. 2/
Right now, the rate of US voters who cast ballots from abroad hovers at around 7% of 6.5 million eligible. If it went up 7x, overseas voting would be on par with homeland voting rates (around 50%). 3/
This would represent an increase of approx 3 million votes – more than the population of many states. Turnout is key to this election, and #overseasvoters have the potential to spare us both a Trump victory and toxic uncertainty surrounding the election results. 4/
According to @vfaglobal, “48% of overseas votes in 2016 were cast in swing states.” Florida is one of these key battleground states where #everyvotecounts. 5/
The all-important #youthvote: according to the recent data gathered by @vfaglobal, 25% of ballots requested btw Jan and June of this year overseas came from people aged 30 or younger. 7/
ISSUES -- Key US issues affecting people’s lives in 2020 - #climatecrisis, #economy, #healthcare, #coronavirus, #socialjustice, #immigration - are global because the outcomes literally cross borders. 8/
Overseas voters have a particular stake, not only as US citizens but as de facto ambassadors to their host countries. #ambassadorsforbiden 9/
Many US citizens abroad, for example, witness their countries of residence taking #climatechange much more seriously than the US gov’t does – while watching their own nation literally burn from afar. 10/
As we watch our newsfeeds turn into photos of wildfires and blood red skies, we also realize that no matter where we live, no one is immune to #globalwarming. 11/
There is no global exceptionalism when it comes to the #climatecrisis or, as the T-shirt has it, a Planet B. #GreenNewDeal 12/
Speaking of #COVID-19: the US has had one of the worst COVID responses worldwide, which means that almost by definition, US citizens residing abroad are safer from the virus than they would be at home. 13/
As with the #climatecrisis, overseas voters are left with concern for our loved ones stateside while we watch them struggle with the economic and public health fallout of the US gov’t #pandemic response from a distance, often unable to reunite with our families. 14/
Worry about the well-being of our friends and relatives back home is inextricable from anxiety about their #healthcare. Even before the pandemic, American citizens abroad were likely to enjoy better access to medical care than their compatriots in the US. 15/
As COVID-19 has made clear, this is not merely a domestic issue. Viruses do not respect boundaries of any kind - state, country, geographic, or personal. 16/
Racism is sometimes called an “American problem.” But systemic issues re: race AND the #BlackLivesMatter movement extend beyond US borders. Fundamental human rights = global priority! 17/
Numbers & issues might help explain why overseas voters would be highly motivated to #votefromabroad. But WHY does it matter THIS year? 18/
The first answer follows from our (relative) privilege. This is not only a matter of the -- often broader -- perspective that comes along with leaving one’s native country: it also has logistical implications. 19/
Somewhat ironically perhaps, and despite unprecedented disruptions to #USPS, most #AmericansAbroad are likely to be in a slightly better position to cast their ballots in 2020 than millions of homeland Americans will. 20/
Overseas voters do not, for example, have to battle COVID to get to the polls: we will #votebymail or online as we always have. Only states with universal mail-in-voting laws are comparable in this regard. 21/
As a group, Americans abroad are not facing the same rates of illness, joblessness, homelessness, climate change catastrophe, or other urgencies that might keep us from focusing on the election. 22/
We actually enjoy an amazing array of resources (shout out to @vfaglobal & @demsabroad), that make the process of voting more transparent than it is at home. Not that voting from abroad is simple! 23/
On the contrary: the relative difficulty of registering & requesting ballots -- both at home AND abroad -- is indicative of the unusually high bar set for US participation in our democracy, including the #votersuppression documented by @fairfightaction and others. 24/
Our final case for the importance of overseas voting in 2020: As indicated by the 7% participation rate, voting from abroad is cumbersome & sometimes costly. By doing it anyway, we SEND A MESSAGE – whether or not your vote is counted (of course we hope it will be). #realtalk 25/
Something that all Americans abroad know (or learn) is that citizenship does not stop at the border. Sometimes, in fact, it begins there, at the place where we must show our passports -- or request new national identities and protections. 26/
Our country is not perfect, but we love it. When we exercise our right to vote, especially from abroad, we SEND A MESSAGE about what we do NOT wish to see perish from the earth. 27/
One of the strongest legacies of the US within world history is its function as a safe harbor for millions of people, many of whom came from somewhere else. We are emigrants who stand with that history when we cast our votes for the best of what the US has to offer. 28/
We SEND A MESSAGE about the lengths we will go in order to protect this vision of the US, and ensure that it is preserved for future generations. 29/
TL;DR: democracy in the US is precious, valued and not to be taken for granted. We as Americans will not accept less than our birthright: participation in government of the people, by the people and for the people – wherever those people may be. 30/
Just as citizenship does not stop at the border, neither does it end with voting. But in 2020, it certainly begins there. US citizens abroad: let’s get this done. #passthevote 31/
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