15 October 2007

Expatriates voting in US elections

I just learned that I can vote in the US Federal elections next year! I had always thought that I couldn't, but apparently the law was changed a few years ago. Now Americans living temporarily or permanently abroad can claim as their "voting residence" the state in which they last voted in the US, whether or not they ever intend to return to that state, or have any other connection to it (property, business, etc), and registering to vote does NOT carry any obligation to file a tax return in that state. This information was sent to me in a note from the "Voting Assistance Officer" at the US Consulate in Sydney, which referred me to the Federal Voting Assistance Program's website. It's really interesting how things have changed: for many years I got the distinct impression that the US government actively made it difficult for people to vote if they lived abroad; now they are actively encouraging and helping people. I haven't decided yet whether to register or not. Meanwhile, a date for the Australian federal election has finally been announced: 24 November. The campaign has been going on unofficially for several months now, so it's good to finally have a date set. The "news" during election campaigns is even more boring and tedious than usual.