US expat voters targeted as campaigns reach final weeks

Published:  27 Sep at 6 PM
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Both sides in the upcoming US presidential election are aggressively targeting American expatriates, believing the expat vote may swing the results.

Republican and Democrat campaigns are both actively wooing US expats following media suggestions that the hundreds of thousands of unregistered overseas voters may hold the key to the election result. Some 20 per cent of US citizens overseas are known to vote regularly, with the rest being aggressively canvassed to make their voices heard in this unique presidential poll.

Both campaigns are stressing the need for changes to the hated FATCA regulations which have caused thousands of US expats to renounce their citizenship. Republicans are calling for the repeal of the legislation, but the Democrat take on its usefulness is a ‘same country exemption’, thus removing the rule that foreign banks and US citizens abroad must report all American-held accounts in expats’ countries of residence.

The Democrat Party’s argument is a persuasive one as it still allows FATCA to hit on US citizens with non-US accounts in banks located in offshore jurisdictions in which they are not actually resident. The suggested change in the law would allow banks in US expat destinations to continue serving their American clients without fearing the draconian FATCA penalties.

Overseas campaigners are playing an unprecedented part in getting in the votes of non-resident US citizens as well as holding fund-raising events in many major cities across the world. Voter registrations are being encouraged by organisations such as Avaaz, whose website now gives expat voters an easy way to sign up.

A recent comedy evening in London was sponsored by Democrats Abroad, and the gaudy, banner-covered double-decker bus seen in the city’s centre was another of Avaaz’s attempts to pull in expat voters for the Democrat cause. The first of the three televised debates between Trump and Clinton has received mixed reviews, but most media reports cite Trump as the loser due to his inability to reply coherently to important points raised by Clinton.
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