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UN Citizens Need Not Have Lived in US To Vote

American Citizens Living in New Zealand Need Not Have Lived in the United States to Vote

CHRISTCHURCH, 29 August 2004—Many New Zealanders with an American parent or parents are surprised to learn they have a right to vote in United States federal elections. A recently launched website makes it easier than ever for these citizens to exercise one of their most important and valuable rights: the voting franchise.

“We have no accurate estimate how many of the 8,000 to 14,000 American citizens living here have never lived in the United States, but quite a number have inquired about the upcoming election. They often express surprise when they learn they can vote by absentee ballot even if they have never lived in the United States nor voted in a previous election,” said Mark Chubb, chair of Democrats Abroad New Zealand.

Richard Akel, chair of Senator John Kerry's election campaign in New Zealand, urges voters to visit http://www.OverseasVote2004.com/ to complete a Federal Post Card Application and download detailed instructions for its submission to state election officials.

“This is an essential step that every American voter living overseas must complete before each election. The whole process takes less than five minutes online,” said Mr Akel.

Americans who have never lived in the United States need to know the address in the U.S. where their parent or parents live now or lived before leaving the United States. This becomes their ‘home state’ for voting purposes. Some states require them to supply a reference to some form of identification like a birth certificate or passport number. And just a few require someone to witness the applicant’s signature.

Because the states, not the popular vote, determine who gets elected president and vice president, overseas voters’ states of residence are important.

“In the last election, we saw how a small number of votes can influence the election outcome in a single state. With several so-called swing-states still hanging in the balance, many observers are predicting the absentee vote could very well decide who becomes the next president of the United States,” said Mr Chubb.

Most states require Americans wishing to vote in the 2 November general election to request absentee ballots before 2 October to ensure voters receive them in time to complete and post them back so they arrive for counting on election night.

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