Voting when you live abroad is important, so why doesn’t everybody do it? Here’s why and how you should start voting when you live abroad!
Voting when you live abroad: Why is it so important?
If you are an expat living in the Netherlands, and chances are that this is the case, you may have wondered at some point whether you could vote in elections back home. Well, I’m here to tell you that yes, it is likely you could be filling out your ballot on your Booking.com lunch break or while you indulge in a little apple pie at your favorite café. So why should I be voting when I live abroad?
“Elections aren’t just about who votes but who doesn’t vote.”– Michelle Obama
According to Wikipedia, there are about 40,000 Americans, about 88,000 Brits, 16,000 Canadians, and 16,000 Australians living in The Netherlands (sorry, just focusing on the English-speakers) and that could be you voting when you live abroad. This amount of people voting by mail or electronically could very well change the outcome of an election. To prove the point, Donald Trump won the state of Michigan by 11,837 votes, and Wisconsin by 27,257 votes! And though not as close as the 2016 US election, the Brexit vote would have been much tighter if all Brits living abroad would have voted in that election.
“Elections have consequences. So many people want to complain, but they don’t want to vote.”– Cory Booker
So you may be asking yourself, “I live in The Netherlands and don’t plan on leaving, so why should I bother registering from abroad?” Well, have you ever heard the saying, “Whenever the US catches a cold, the rest of the world gets the flu”? What happens in these English-speaking faraway lands has an impact on the Dutch economy and on Dutch society, generally. For example, it can be argued that US intervention in the Middle East years ago has led us to the refugee crisis and the rise of nationalism we see today. Also, these ridiculous tariffs and made up trade war of Trump’s is already affecting the Dutch economy.
Don’t you want to have a say on these issues?
So why is this such a big deal now? In case you haven’t noticed, the world is in turmoil. In the US, the leftist Democrats are pinning their hopes on the upcoming November 6th election to regain control of at least one house of Congress to put the brakes on Donald Trump. Primaries have been going on for months, and many of these key races are entirely too close, so votes from abroad could make a huge difference.
In the UK, no one knows what will happen in parliament before the Brexit deadline in 2019. Australia is going through prime ministers faster than a tourist gets their unlocked bike stolen in Dam Square on King’s Day. Use that even-keeled temperament you learned from the Dutch and bring some rational thought to the upcoming elections.
You’re ready to make your voice heard. Great! Where do you start? Registering to vote from abroad is simple. Just follow your country’s link below and fill out the appropriate forms. It only takes about ten minutes and you will be ready to make your mark from across the globe!
United States: https://www.votefromabroad.org
United Kingdom: https://www.gov.uk/voting-when-abroad
“Voting when you live abroad is as important as locking your bike, as fun as drinking Heineken with your expat friends, and as easy getting a tech job in Amsterdam. So do it!” – Me
Do you believe that voting when you live abroad is important? Will you be voting? Let us know in the comments below!