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Americans Living in NZ Urged to Register and Vote

Democrats Abroad New Zealand Urges Americans Living in NZ to Register and Vote

CHRISTCHURCH - Last week in Boston, Democrats nominated senators John Kerry and John Edwards to face Republican President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney in November’s general election. These events not only attracted the attention of Americans, but the people around the world.

In just over three months, Americans will not only cast votes that will lead to the election of a president and vice president, but will also elect 435 members to the House of Representatives and one-third of the 100 members of the United States Senate. The decisions made by these men and women will influence events beyond America’s shores.

With the deadline for Americans residing overseas to register to vote by absentee ballot in November’s general election approaching fast, Democrats Abroad New Zealand is urging the 8,000-plus Americans living here to contact their home-state election officials now.

“All Americans living abroad, regardless of their political preference, not only have a right but a duty to vote,” says Mark Chubb, Democrats Abroad’s New Zealand Country Committee chair. He says, Democrats Abroad New Zealand’s website has links to information about voting procedures, including the following link to the online Federal Post Card Application http://www.fvap.gov/pubs/onlinefpca.html, which allows voters to register or request an absentee ballot from election officials in any U.S. state or territory.

Besides encouraging American New Zealanders to vote, Democrats Abroad New Zealand hopes to help New Zealanders gain a better understanding of the American electoral process.

“American elections confuse quite a few Americans not to mention many overseas observers,” notes Democrats Abroad New Zealand’s vice chair, Sophie Richardson, who has served as overseas election monitor. “The states, not the people, elect the president and vice president. To do this, each state’s voters actually cast their ballots for electors who will vote their stated preference on behalf of the state. As we saw in 2000, this means that very small numbers of votes, especially in key states, can make a very big difference to the outcome.”

With more than 4-million Americans living overseas, expatriate voters’ preferences matter every bit as much as those of residents in any of the fifty states. If the election is close, the participation of overseas voters could influence the outcome in some critical states.

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