Today is International Voter Registration Day for US citizens living abroad

Federal law generally gives US citizens living abroad the right to vote absentee in the states from whence they come, but you must register every election year. This may be an election year in the place where you vote but you don’t know it.

Heroic or creepy as you may see it, the politicians don’t let up. Neither should you.

It’s an “off year” for US elections, after some surprising midterms that leave the United States with divided and unstable government that might flip with a few special elections, party switches, absent legislators or indictments. It’s hard to imagine, for example, that there won’t be a special election to replace George Santos in the Long Island / Queens district that sent the impostor to Congress.

In fact, we have already had a consequential by-election in the USA this year. The Virginia State Senate was at 21-19 in the Democrats’ favor, but with a couple of Dems who would vote with the Republicans against abortion rights. On January 10 Democrat Aaron Rouse flipped a red district to blue, thus depriving the Republican governor of the votes he’d need to pass anti-abortion legislation that he wants.

Also in Virginia, in a usually safely Democratic 4th Congressional District, voters go to the polls to replace veteran US Representative Donald McEachin, who was re-elected but died before he could be sworn in for a new term. In that race Democratic State Senator Jennifer McClellan will square off with Republican pastor and businessman Leon Benjamin Sr. Either way the race goes, the narrow division in the House of Representatives will be affected.

Do insurrectionist members of Congress get indicted / convicted for January 6, 2021? Does a Florida congressman who’s apparently a short-eye perv get busted on jailbait charges? In some of those districts the party in control and the sort of person who wins will not much change. In others there might be changes. And there may be some Republican members who walk away from that party’s MAGA-dominated caucus in disgust. Your vote just might swing control of the House in another direction before the term of the 118th Congress has run.

Register now, online, for all 2023 elections

ANYWAY, what to do?

There are several groups and campaigns that help Americans living abroad to get registered, two of them systematic and reasonably up to date.

There is the governmental Federal Voter Assistance Project, originally created for US military personnel stationed overseas but now serving any US citizen residing abroad.

There is the non-governmental Vote From Abroad, originally created by Democrats Abroad but serving any US voter living outside the USA, even helping Republicans to register and vote.

What other elections are scheduled for this year?

  • Louisiana, Kentucky and Mississippi elect state governors.
  • Louisiana, Mississippi, New Jersey and Virginia hold legislative elections.
  • There are many mayoral elections. Among the biggest are Chicago; Houston, Dallas, Fort Worth, Arlington and San Antonio in Texas; Denver and Colorado Springs in Colorado; Philadelphia; Nashville, Knoxville and Memphis in Tennessee; Tampa and Jacksonville in Florida; Hartford, Connecticut; Kansas City, Missouri; Tucson; Salt Lake City; Charlotte and Fayetteville in North Carolina; Portland, Maine; and Indianapolis.
  • Major city council elections include Los Angeles, New York, Boston, Chicago, Minneapolis and Seattle.
  • Wisconsin will elect a supreme court justice, with the retiring one having taken stands to restrict voting rights and embraced anti-scientific theories about how COVID is spread.
  • The Eastern Band of Cherokees, the Cherokee Nation and the Chocktaw Nation of Oklahoma will have tribal elections.

Register today, learn more about who’s running, what’s at stake and where they stand and choose well.


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