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Myths about overseas voting

Myth #1: "Americans don't vote again until 2008."
WRONG. Americans go to the polls on November 7, 2006 to elect all 435 members of the House of Representatives, 33 Senators and 36 Governors. For U.S. citizens living abroad, it is important to request an absentee ballot as early as possible to allow for processing time and international post.

Myth #2: "I can't vote. I don't have a US address anymore."
WRONG. Regardless of how long you have lived outside the country, you always retain the right to vote in U.S. Federal elections. Your legal voting address is the last place you resided prior to departing the U.S.

Myth #3: "I don't need to register. I already did it last time."
WRONG. Overseas voters should mail a ballot request each year in which there is an election. Yes, there is a recent Federal law stating that a ballot request should be valid for four years. And there are some exceptions, like California which permits "permanent absentee" registration. But, don't forget that our votes are administered by 3,000 different local authorities across the country, each with its own understanding of the law. Better safe than sorry - send a new ballot request every time!

Myth #4: "They don't even count overseas ballots."
WRONG. Absolutely 100% false. By law, every valid absentee ballot must be counted before a final vote count can be certified. However, if the number of outstanding ballots - overseas or otherwise - is smaller than the difference between two candidates, a winner may be called before every last ballot has been counted.

Myth #5: "One vote can't make a difference."
WRONG. Just look at recent election results:
2000: George W. Bush wins the state of Florida by a margin of 537 votes.
2004: Democrat Christine Gregoire becomes Governor of Washington State with a 127-vote lead.
2006: The race for a seat on the Erie County, Ohio Democratic Committee ends in a dead tie!

Myth #6: "If I vote the IRS will hassle me."
WRONG. Voting in U.S. Federal elections does not affect the determination of tax residence. You will not hear from the IRS because you voted in a Federal election. (Note: Voting in state and local elections can potentially affect state and local tax status. We recommend that you seek expert advice before voting in state or local elections.)

Myth #7: "Overseas voting is so complicated."
WRONG. This used to be true, but now U.S. citizens can complete the entire process of requesting an absentee ballot in two minutes flat at!

Democrats Abroad, May 2006

By© 2006 -

Published or Updated on: January 1, 2006
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