Learning from the US to dispel MYTHS and We Need Right to Vote in Cambodia

CEROC public logo (Courtesy of Sovann Khemara)

CEROC public logo
(Courtesy of Sovann Khemara)

Myths About Voting from Abroad

There are a number of common misconceptions about voting from abroad, which can prevent Americans abroad from exercising their right to vote. Please help us dispel these myths!

Myth #1 “I can’t vote. I don’t have a US address anymore.”

WRONG. Regardless how long you have lived outside the country, you always retain the right to vote in US Federal elections. Your legal voting address is the last place you resided prior to departing the US. (If you havenever lived in the US, many states will allow you to vote using the legal voting address of one of your American parents.  Also, depending on state law, it could be that studying or summering in the U.S. is enough to establish residence. Check with local authorities.)

Myth #2 “I don’t need to register. I did it last time.”

WRONG. The law has changed. Voters living abroad need to mail in a ballot request every Federal election year. Yes, there are some places, like California, which permit “permanent absentee” registration. But, don’t forget that our votes are administered by thousands of different local authorities across the country, each with its own understanding of the law.Better safe than sorry – send a new ballot request every election year!

Myth #3 “They don’t even count overseas ballots.”

WRONG. Absolutely 100% false. By law, every properly executed 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 vote has been tallied. Nonetheless, all outstanding ballots are counted before the election result can be certified.

Myth #4 “One vote can’t make a difference.”

WRONG. Just look at recent election results. Florida 2000: George W. Bush wins the state – and the presidency – by a margin of 537 votes.Washington 2004: Democrat Christine Gregoire becomes Governor by just 133 votes. Minnesota 2008: Al Franken is finally seated in the Senate with a 312-vote victory.

Myth #5 “If I vote, the IRS will hassle me.”

WRONG. Voting in US Federal elections does not affect the determination of tax liability or tax residence. You will not hear from the IRS because you voted in a Federal election, i.e. President, Senate, or House of Representatives. (Note: Voting in state and local elections can potentially affect state and local tax status. You should seek expert advice before voting in state or local elections.)

Myth #6 “Voting from abroad is so complicated.”

WRONG. This used to be true! Now, US citizens can complete the process of registering and requesting an absentee ballot – and spread the word to friends and colleagues! – in just two minutes flat at www.VoteFromAbroad.org.

Quebec election: Snowbird voters encounter temporary glitches

Voting from Abroad CanadaQuebec election: Snowbird voters encounter temporary glitches
Quebecers wintering abroad can mail, fax or email an application to Elections Quebec by March 19 *

Ballots sent from outside Quebec must be received by Elections Quebec by 8 p.m. April 7.

Photograph by: Ryan Remiorz , The Canadian Press

Quebec election: Snowbird voters encounter temporary glitchesEditor’s note: The original version of this corrected story had incorrect information in the subhead. Details below.

MONTREAL — Snowbirds hoping to cast their ballots in the coming provincial election from afar ran into some early challenges on Thursday, despite new rules designed to make the process easier.

With the campaign in full swing back home, many Quebecers who spend the harsh winter months in warmer climates logged on to Elections Québec’s website to begin registering to vote by mail. The process itself is fairly straightforward: Eligible voters fill out a form, which can be mailed, faxed or emailed along with two pieces of identification to Elections Quebec by March 19. The ability to email the information (with scanned copies of the documents) is a new feature put in place since the last provincial election in 2012.

(Note: To see a mobile-friendly version of our “Are you eligible to vote?” graphic, tap on the link below Related stories)

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Elections (voting from abroad) for Canadians

Op-Ed: Elections Canada

Elections (voting from abroad)

Canadians who are temporarily living or travelling outside Canada can, under certain conditions, vote by special ballot in federal elections, by-elections and referendums.

You may vote by special mail-in ballot if you are a Canadian citizen 18 years of age or older on polling day and if you:

  • usually live in Canada, but are away from your electoral district during the electoral period, or
  • have been living outside Canada for less than five consecutive years (or longer if you meet certain employment-based criteria for exemption from the five-year limit) and meet certain other criteria.

Living abroad

If you are living abroad, you may apply to be added to Elections Canada’s International Register of Electors at any time. You must submit a completed Application for registration and special ballot for Canadian citizens residing outside Canada and provide copies of supporting documents that prove your identity. This form is available at any Canadian government office abroad, on the Elections Canada website or by calling Elections Canada at 613-993-2975. Completed applications and copies of supporting documents should be mailed or faxed to Elections Canada in Ottawa. Once your completed application has been approved, your name is added to the International Register of Electors. A special voting ballot is mailed to you when an election is called.

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