DemDaily: Seven Million Votes

May 7, 2024

According to the US State Department, there are close to 7 million Americans of voting age who live abroad.

That is roughly equivalent to the number of registered voters in Virginia and more than enough to sway a presidential election.

Getting the vote out abroad, however, is an enormous challenge. At the forefront of that effort is Democrats Abroad, whose teams are working hard to make sure that every US and dual citizen overseas votes in November.

Democrats Abroad is the official organization of the Democratic Party for United States citizens living permanently or temporarily overseas, and strives to provide Americans abroad a Democratic voice in our government and elect Democratic candidates by mobilizing the overseas vote.

A volunteer-run organization, Democrats Abroad runs 46 country committees throughout Europe, the Americas, the Middle East, Africa and Asia and has members in more than 190 countries who vote in every state and Congressional District in the United States.

Efforts to secure the voting rights of overseas citizens began with Democrats in Paris and London during the 1960 Kennedy-Nixon presidential election, leading to the creation of Democrats Abroad in 1964.

It was not until the passage of the Overseas Citizens Voting Rights Act of 1975, led by then-House Majority Leader Tip O'Neill, that the rights of these citizens were recognized.

Led by Democrats Abroad, legal protections and full access to register and vote by absentee ballot was finally provided through the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA) of 1986.

Since UOCAVA was enacted, legal barriers to expansion of voting have been removed. The Help America Vote Act of 2002 instituted permanent registration for two full federal election cycles and the first collection of statistics on overseas absentee voting.

In 2020, nearly one million ballots were cast by American voters living abroad, an increase of 73% over 2016. Essentially the bluest of all "states," DA helped bring home wins for Biden-Harris in Arizona and Georgia with 18,000+ votes from abroad -- exceeding the president's margin of victory.

Democrats Abroad's mobilization efforts had a measurable impact on critical races in 2022 and 2023, including the election of Arizona Attorney General Kris Mayes, who won by 280 votes.

The Democrats Abroad Global Presidential Primary (GPP) took place March 5-12 with in-person voting in 95 centers in 44 countries worldwide, and early and simultaneous voting by mail, fax, and email.

President Joe Biden received 80.14% of the vote, while Marianne Williamson received 6.7% and "Uncommitted" garnered 13.19%.

DA is recognized by the Democratic National Committee as a "state" and is represented on the DNC by eight voting members -- the Chair, Vice Chair and six elected DNC members -- who will cast their votes at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago, Illinois August 19-22.

Democrats Abroad Leadership: International Chair: Martha McDevitt-Pugh (Netherlands) * International Vice Chair: Steve Nardi (Canada) * International Secretary: Karen Frankenstein (Germany) * International Treasurer: Joshua Van Der Ploeg (United Kingdom) * International Counsel: Anne Brady (Ireland) * Regional Vice Chair, Asia Pacific: Suma Shannanna (India) * Regional Vice Chair, EMEA: Jennifer Rakow-Stepper (Austria) * Director of Communications: Angela Fobbs (Germany). DNC Members: Adrianne George (Sweden) * Joseph Smallhoover (France) * Katie Solon (Germany) * Cory Lemke (Korea) * Julia Bryan (Czech Republic) * Miguel Madrigal Hidalgo (Costa Rica)


How It Works
Overseas voters covered under the Help America Vote Act include members of the seven Uniformed Services and the US Merchant Marines and their family members, US citizens employed by the federal government, and private US citizens residing outside the country.

US citizens retain the right to vote no matter how long they have lived abroad. They vote where they last resided, or if they have never lived in the US, where their US parent last resided. Each state has different procedures and deadlines.

The Act does not apply to non-federal elections, although the majority of states and territories allow qualifying citizens to register and vote in state and local elections as well.

Vote Now
Check your ballot and state deadlines at

Democrats Abroad Resources
* Outreach to members of Congress on major issues
* Online programs, webinars with public leaders and grassroots organizers
* Voter registration outreach in nearly every country on earth
* Targeted emails to members with voter deadlines and ballot information
* Voter registration drives with study abroad programs: Help Here
* Phonebanking to hundreds of thousands of voters abroad: Help Here

* A 24/7 online voter help desk at
* Find a Democrats Abroad Event in your country! Here
* Learn More & Join:

Join Democrats Abroad at their 2024 Global Convention May 31-June 3 in San Jose, Costa Rica: Information

Pass this on to friends overseas!

"Americans abroad will be the margin of victory in tight races across the States this year. In addition to the work of hundreds of our dedicated member-volunteers, our expert teams provide 24/7 assistance to help U.S. citizens request and return their ballots from anywhere in the world." - Democrats Abroad Chair Martha McDevitt-Pugh

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Kimberly Scott

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