This punchline from the recent Saturday Night Live cold open may have said what we were all feeling. By now, most people already know who they want to be president, but unless voting early is an option, they will have to wait till Election Day to do something about it.
But if you live abroad, or even in outer space, you actually can vote today! As an American living in Paris, I cast my ballot early – it was super easy. The VoteFromAbroad website hooked me up with my local registrar. I downloaded my ballot and mailed it in. Now I can sit back and enjoy the show until Election Day – my job is done. Kate Rubins, a NASA astronaut currently on a mission in outer space, will also get it done.
Many business travelers are also expats. A State Department estimate suggests that the number of Americans living abroad may be between 7 and 8 million. In 2012, uniformed and overseas citizens accounted for nearly 9% of ballots cast. No matter which way you want the election to turn, that number means something right about now.
As the world holds its breath to see who will be the new leader of the free world, we are all doing our best to participate from afar. If you’re an American expat or know one, you probably have seen initiatives to get out the vote. Some have a definite result in mind, like the group of American expats in London who started their own grass roots campaign.
But it’s not always easy to participate. If you live abroad and have kids like I do, consider this. My oldest is now 18, old enough to vote and to serve his country. He chose to do the latter, but unfortunately may not be able to do the former just yet. My home state, Louisiana, is one of only 13 states that do not allow foreign-born children of their voters to register to vote. Laws are being proposed in many states to change that, so write to your congressperson to make sure your voting-age children living abroad have the right to vote.
In the meantime, Egencia is partnering with Google to get the traveler vote to the polls. Will you be traveling on Election Day? Want to get your vote in early?
After all, if Kate Rubins, who is on the ultimate business trip, can do it, so can you!