||[ Thursday, 13 Sep 18 | 19:10 ]
This posting is unusual for me. I am US citizen and overseas voter. I have not missed voting since I emigrated 13 years ago.
Today the Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP) released its biennial Overseas Citizen Population Analysis (OCPA) estimating there were 3 million U.S. citizens of voting age living abroad in 2016 who cast approximately 208,000 ballots. The overseas voter turnout of approximately 7 percent compares to a domestic turnout of 72 percent.
The OCPA examined that 65-percentage-point gap between overseas and domestic voting rates, breaking it into the portion attributable to infrastructure obstacles not faced by voters in the U.S., such as mail speed, versus the proportion attributable to other factors, such as motivation or awareness of U.S. elections. Just over 30 points of the gap were due to obstacles faced by overseas voters.
"Our study reveals that the voting rate of Americans living abroad would have increased from 7 percent to 37.5 percent, if overseas obstacles to voting were removed,” FVAP Director David Beirne said. “FVAP’s advanced methods are providing the most accurate estimates to date of U.S. citizens living overseas and the impact of obstacles on their voting experience.”
FVAP’s survey further showed that greater than 9 in 10 overseas citizens who requested and received an absentee ballot did cast that ballot in the 2016 election. Nearly half (44 percent) said it was the first time they voted in a U.S. election from the country in which they were living. While there is no typical overseas voter, the average age is 46; nearly two-thirds are working; and they are highly educated, with nearly half holding a graduate or professional degree and another third holding a bachelor’s degree.