National: Overseas ballot requests set record, but will votes reach U.S. shores? | Abigail Williams and Haley Talbot/NBC

It took two very expensive international phone calls, 15 emails and several wrong web addresses, but Jennifer Sun, an Alabaman living in the Chinese city of Shanghai, finally got the right ballot to send in her vote. “I’m like, come on, guys. It’s ballots! You can’t accidentally send someone the wrong link. That needs to be triple-checked before it’s released, right?” she said by telephone. “I tried to click on the second link, but it still didn’t work, because they hadn’t canceled my first link,” she said before expressing her doubts about Alabama’s capacity to manage votes from overseas. “There is quite a lot of confusion for a lot of people,” Sun said. “There are a lot of Americans here that are not as familiar with the consulate and its services.” The confusion could cost an election back home during what many see as a pivotal presidential race. So-called overseas votes — which are also cast by Americans in Canada and Mexico — could prove crucial.

Full Article: Overseas ballot requests set record, but will votes reach U.S. shores?

National: What a lost Florida ballot says about how difficult it is for U.S. citizens abroad to vote | The Washington Post

With time officially running out Thursday at 8 p.m., Florida counties are in the midst of a dramatic recount to determine the winners in three statewide races. One week after the midterm elections, the outcome of several key votes is still unclear, which has triggered comparisons with the 2000 recount of Florida votes during the presidential election between George W. Bush and Al Gore. It’s likely that the uncertainty may drag on even longer than first estimated, as several counties have asked for extensions. Ballots mailed from abroad are being counted until Friday. But Amalee McCoy’s won’t be among them. The 42-year-old U.S. citizen who has lived abroad for almost three decades sent in her ballot from Thailand on Oct. 17, using registered mail. “We kept a copy of the tracking number as I was concerned about reports of voter suppression during early voting already happening in the news,” said McCoy, who lives in Bangkok but votes in Osceola County, Fla. In previous years, voting from abroad posed few challenges, she said. But this year, things went differently.

Pennsylvania: Voters reported being blocked from State election site — and from obtaining absentee ballots — as early as 2016 | Philadelphia Inquirer

Pennsylvania election officials say they first learned last week that their new security measures blocking foreign access to state election sites were preventing voters abroad from accessing their absentee ballots. But voters living outside the country told the Inquirer and Daily News they had trouble much earlier. “Definitely I can tell you from my own experience, this happened in the May primary,” said Portia Kamons, 56, who lived in Southwestern Pennsylvania before moving to the United Kingdom nearly three decades ago. Kamons said she contacted the Pennsylvania Department of State and other officials to report the problem. When the state sent emails a few weeks ago directing voters to the same site — which remains blocked — Kamons said she was “hopping mad” that nothing had been done. Other users also reported being blocked from seeing election results in January and March on the state site and prevented from opening the voter registration page in October 2016.

National: Overseas Voters Having Trouble Getting Ballots As States Try To Thwart Hacking | HuffPost

Thousands of U.S. voters living overseas have encountered difficulties requesting absentee ballots because of state restrictions on internet traffic as part of efforts to secure their election systems, according to a report in The Philadelphia Inquirer. Federal law requires states to provide eligible U.S. voters based in foreign countries with a chance to get an absentee ballot. But some of these voters are having problems accessing official election websites to get information and, in some cases, download ballots, the Inquirer reported. The snags are occurring because of the steps taken by states to restrict traffic from foreign countries or entities to prevent potential interference with the election process, including the vote count. The Inquirer identified five states where voters were unable to load websites this week: Georgia, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Vermont. Wanda Murren, a spokeswoman for Pennsylvania Department of State, said her office first learned of the download problems experienced by overseas voters were on Sept. 25. Three days later, she said, the federal agency that helps overseas voters ― including military families ― cast ballots informed the office the problem was more widespread than previously believed.

Pennsylvania: ‘They are actually suppressing votes’: voters abroad are blocked from state election website | Philadelphia Inquirer

Thousands of registered Pennsylvania voters who live outside the United States are being blocked from accessing absentee ballots on the state’s website in a move intended to beef up election security. Several other states, including New Mexico, Tennessee, Georgia, and Vermont, also appear to be blocking foreign access to their election sites. “This should be a red flashing light issue in the state of Pennsylvania right now. They need to solve it — today,” said Susan Dzieduszycka-Suinat, president and CEO of the nonprofit U.S. Vote Foundation. “Because they are actually suppressing votes if this is how it is right now.” Under UOCAVA, an acronym for the law enshrining their voting rights and procedures, military and overseas civilian voters are supposed to be able to request an absentee ballot and have it sent to them to fill out and return. In Pennsylvania, voters can request absentee ballots by mail or as a download link by email.

Sweden: Sweden counts overseas votes in dead-heat election | The Local

The two blocs are almost neck and neck as the counting of overseas votes starts in Sweden.
It is not yet known how many votes – Swedes abroad and some domestic votes that haven’t yet been registered – are left to count, but in the last two election they have been around 200,000. The preliminary election result is so tight that only two seats – or almost 30,000 votes of those that have been counted – currently put the left-wing bloc ahead of the four-party Alliance opposition. But based on past elections it is not likely that the late votes will change the number of seats won by either bloc, however it could change the seat allocation within the blocs, writes the TT newswire.

Georgia: Voting Plan Has Drawn New Criticism, This Time Over How It’s Dealing With Voters Overseas | Buzzfeed

The state of Georgia has blocked all foreign internet traffic to its online voter registration site, BuzzFeed News has learned, a move that would do little to deter hackers but blocks absentee voters. The site,, is accessible only to US IP addresses. The decision has outraged technologists and voting groups. In theory, it’s meant as a security measure, based on the idea that a person visiting the site is more likely to be a foreign hacker. But in practice, it has the opposite effect: Georgians abroad who don’t know how to reroute their internet traffic with tools like virtual private networks (VPNs) or Tor will be prevented from registering to vote. “This won’t really do anything to dissuade a hacker. It will only turn away real voters,” said Susan Dzieduszycka-Suinat, president of the US Vote Foundation, a nonprofit that helps Americans vote abroad. “A hacker, or even a determined voter, will just get onto a VPN and to a US IP address, and guess what? They’re in.”

Indonesia: Indonesians abroad return to vote, but only if it’s not too far | The Jakarta Post

Risyad Tri Setiaputra, 27, is registered as a Jakarta resident. Currently residing in Glasgow, in the United Kingdom, he has kept a close eye on every development in the heated Jakarta gubernatorial race through the internet. For Risyad, casting his vote in the Feb. 15 election is important because it will determine the future of the Indonesian capital. “Jakarta is developing now. It would be a pity if the ongoing development faced challenges because of the election result,” Risyad told The Jakarta Post via instant messaging service on Saturday. Going home only to vote, however, is certainly not an option for him. Risyad is originally from Kalimalang, East Jakarta, thousands of kilometers away from the biggest city in Scotland where he has been pursuing his master’s degree. Risyad said he would stay in Glasgow until he finished his course in October.

Editorials: Time for Act II of the MOVE Act | Susan Dzieduszycka-Suinat/U.S. Vote Foundation

Rarely does the first iteration of a law translate legislative intent into implementation flawlessly and durably. The legislative process allows us to correct, improve or update laws as needed in our changing times. It’s an ongoing process, and one we should embrace! A new round of legislative reform is needed to ensure that the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA) and its progeny continue to play a vital role. In 2009, the Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment Act (MOVE) was passed as a much-needed, bipartisan reform to UOCAVA; and it has served as a mechanism to modernize key aspects of UOCAVA. The MOVE Act’s creation was informed by years of research, including work by U.S. Vote Foundation’s (US Vote) Overseas Vote initiative (formerly Overseas Vote Foundation), and it has been demonstrably successful in accelerating the transition to online methods for most overseas and military voting processes across all states.

National: Most eligible expatriates don’t vote in US elections, study finds | Stars & Stripes

A study released Wednesday, described as the first of its kind, has found what political scientists have long suspected: Most American expatriates don’t vote in U.S. elections. The study by the Federal Voting Assistance Program found that voting rates for all estimated 2.6 million eligible overseas voters, excluding servicemembers and their spouses, was 4 percent in 2014. That compares to 36 percent of eligible voters in the U.S. and, according to a previous study by the FVAP, 21 percent of eligible active-duty military voters who mailed in ballots in 2014. “While we can expect to see an increase in the overall voting rates for the 2016 presidential election, we need to understand whether the overall rate for 2014 is due to low awareness of how to vote absentee or if it is related to other factors,” FVAP Director Matt Boehmer said in a news release.

Greece: Government backs lower voting age but doesn’t offer expats vote | EurActiv

The Greek parliament last month (21 July) approved by a simple majority government’s proposed changes to the electoral system, with 179 votes in favor, 86 against, and 16 lawmakers abstaining. Among other provisions, Greek lawmakers decided to lower the voting age, allowing 17-year-olds to vote in the next general elections. According to the new electoral law, about 130,000 17-year-olds are expected to participate in the next national election. For the Syriza-led government, this move will enforce youth participation. But the opposition parties do not share such a view and believe that Greek premier Alexis Tsipras is trying to “cheat” young people. But the coalition government rejected the opposition’s proposal to grant voting rights for Greeks living abroad.

Florida: It’s in the mail: First primary ballots headed to overseas voters | Tampa Bay Times

It’s seven weeks before primary election day in Florida, but the first wave of primary ballots is in the mail to voters living or stationed in dozens of countries overseas. By law, those ballots, many headed to active-duty military personnel, must be in the mail by Saturday, July 16, or 45 days before the Aug. 30 election. The counties that generally ship the most overseas and military ballots are Escambia, Okaloosa and Bay in the Florida Panhandle, along with Duval, Brevard and Hillsborough, all with large military installations. In Okaloosa County, the home of Eglin Air Force Base, Supervisor of Elections Paul Lux said Tuesday he mailed 3,600 ballots, and another 1,300 will be sent by Friday to voters who emailed requests to his office. On Lux’s office wall in Crestview is a map (above) dotted with dozens of pins marking the many destinations for his county’s overseas ballots.

Ireland: Referendum to give emigrants a vote for president ‘only a first step’ | The Irish Times

Organisations representing Irish citizens overseas have welcomed the announcement that a referendum will be held early next year on the right of emigrants to vote in Presidential elections. Plans for a referendum were discussed last week at an interdepartmental group on diaspora affairs, chaired by Minister for the Diaspora Joe McHugh. Proposals will be brought to the Global Irish Civic Forum, a meeting of organisations and individuals working with Irish communities around the world, in Dublin next February. It is the second time such a meeting will take place; almost 200 people attended the first forum in June 2015. A recent poll of 350 Irish people who emigrated since 2008, carried out by Ipsos MRBI for The Irish Times, found 62 per cent would like a vote for the president.Sixty-three per cent wanted a say in general elections, 61 per cent in referendums, and 53 per cent in Seanad elections. The remainder of those surveyed were fairly evenly split between those who had no opinion on the issue, or who didn’t think they should have a right to vote.

Ireland: Referendum on voting rights for the Irish abroad planned for 2017 | Irish Central

A referendum, planned for early next year, on Ireland’s election law could lead to the country’s 800,000 passport holders who live outside the state getting the right to vote in Irish presidential elections. The Minister for the Diaspora Joe McHugh unveiled plans for the referendum during a special event in Kampala, Uganda attended by Irish citizens living in the country. McHugh admitted that if the diaspora voting in the presidential election went well then voting rights for emigrants could be expanded to include the right to vote in general elections. Currently there are 800,000 Irish people with Irish passports living outside the state in 120 countries around the world. They currently do not have the right to vote on matters in Ireland. The proposed referendum, if passed, would see this law change.

Ireland: Voting in Ireland’s general election 2016 – No Emigrants Need Apply | Irish Central

We remember the long lines at ports and airports when Irish emigrants, at great personal cost, came home to vote in the marriage equality referendum, in May 2015. The sense was of a lost tribe returning to its roots and having a say in a critical decision for the Irish people. The Irish government did not make it easy. Polling stations could have been set up in embassies and consulates, a form of postal voting could have been introduced. Instead, many trekked thousands of miles, from as far away as Australia and California, to make their vote count. Yet, as Washington expert Kevin Sullivan wrote, only about 66,000 of the 280,000 who left after the Celtic Tiger collapsed were eligible to vote leaving the emigrant Irish with a much diminished voice when it came to the battle over human rights for all.

National: Can Edward Snowden vote in the 2016 elections? | The Daily Dot

Edward Snowden is the world’s most wanted man. He faces charges related to espionage and theft of government property for leaking classified NSA documents to journalists. He is actively evading U.S. law enforcement by living under asylum in Russia. So, can he still vote in the 2016 election? Absolutely, yes, according to Ben Wizner, leading U.S. attorney for Snowden and director of the Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project at the American Civil Liberties Union. “There’s no legal basis whatsoever for depriving Edward Snowden of the right to vote. The short answer is: He’s eligible,” Wizner told the Daily Dot when asked about Snowden’s voter status. “There’s no legal basis whatsoever for depriving Edward Snowden of the right to vote. He’s been convicted of no crime, much less one that would strip him of his civil rights.”

Bermuda: No vote for long-term overseas residents | The Royal Gazette

The Bermuda Government has no plans to extend voting rights to Bermudians living permanently abroad. At the end of last year, absentee ballots allowing students to vote were proposed for the new legislative year by the One Bermuda Alliance. However, Michael Fahy, the Minister of Home Affairs, told The Royal Gazette that the Government has no immediate plans to widen it out to include those living overseas long-term. “Because they have moved their place of residence, the constitution is clear, as is the Parliamentary Election Act, that those ordinarily living outside Bermuda cannot vote in Bermuda elections,” Mr Fahy said.

Editorials: It’s time in 2016 to grant Irish abroad the right to vote | The Irish Times

So it has begun. The Centennial Year: 40 State-sponsored events, hundreds of local commemorations, events in New York and Washington DC and countless other places where the Irish diaspora has gathered. After a shaky start, the Government has righted itself and come forward with a thoughtful and comprehensive programme that culminates in a series of Easter anniversary events and a major national conference on the future of the Republic 100 years on. Countless books will be published, and historians will be in demand on talk shows as Irish people take a long look back of what they have made of the Republic. Everything thing seems well in hand to celebrate how far we have come, except for the reality that one million Irish emigrants are effectively non-citizens of this Republic. They can’t vote.

Ohio: State Supreme Court rules in blogger Randy Simes’s voting rights case | Cincinnati Business Courier

A Cincinnati native who is owner and managing editor of has the right to vote in Hamilton County while living in South Korea for his job, the Ohio Supreme Court has ruled. In a 6-1 decision, the court ruled that the Hamilton County Board of Elections did not abuse its discretion in 2013 when it decided that Randy Simes had the right to vote here. The court upheld both the Board of Elections’ decision and a Hamilton County Appellate Court ruling. Two people – Barbara Holwadel and Steven Johnson – pursued the case, which started when Simes voted in the 2013 Cincinnati mayoral primary between John Cranley and Roxanne Qualls, all the way to the state’s highest court.

South Korea: Government passes bill simplifying overseas voter registration | The Korea Times

Overseas voter registration for South Korean elections just got easier thanks to a revised bill passed by the National Assembly last week. Under the bill, the South Korean government will work to install polling stations overseas and to simplify the registration process, starting next year following the April legislative election. Polling stations will be installed in regions with Korean nationals numbering more than 40,000. In New York, that means two stations will be installed in addition to the existing Consulate General.

Canada: Trudeau to review voting ban for long-term expats | The Canadian Press

A Canadian woman who recently met Justin Trudeau in London says the prime minister indicated a willingness to review a law disenfranchising long-term expats. In an interview from the U.K., Laura Bailey says she met Trudeau at a reception at the Canadian High Commission on Nov. 25 as he moved through the crowd and shook his hand. “I hope you can reinstate my right to vote in the next election,” Bailey said she told Trudeau. “He said to me, ‘We’ll work on that,’ with a little cutesy smile. Then I took a selfie with him.”

Pakistan: Giving voting right to expats not feasible: Minister | The Nation

Election experts, government officials and lawmakers yesterday concluded that giving voting right to overseas Pakistanis was practically impossible though lawmakers of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) stuck to politics of idealism insisting on giving rights to voters abroad. The sub-committee of Electoral Reforms Committee was informed by officials of Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) that the mock voting exercise in Pakistani missions abroad went unsuccessful and proposed that participation of Pakistanis living abroad in election will be a futile exercise without any success. The meeting was told that it took two weeks to receive the results of votes polled by 67 voters in seven Pakistani missions during the mock exercise. Voters had cast votes through postal ballots and email. Minister for Climate Change Zahid Hamid who is also convener of the committee told reporters that Tuesday’s briefing by ECP and Nadra officials was evidence that the project of giving voting rights to overseas Pakistanis was not feasible at all.

Philippines: Poll panel seeks out overseas voters, but shuns internet voting | Gulf News

The Philippine government is aiming for a higher voter turnout among overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), but it has shunned internet and mobile phone voting in the 2016 presidential polls. The situation is likely to result in low participation among the one million registered overseas voters who represent 10 per cent of the country’s 10 million OFWs worldwide. “There is no explicit law that allows internet voting in 2016,” said Arthur Lim, head of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) office for overseas voting. The use of the internet and mobile phones is “being explored for future elections,” Lim said. He did not give details of what process was being carried out to make this modern approach a reality.

United Kingdom: EU referendum: expats push for voting rights | Telegraph

David Cameron has been told by Conservatives Abroad to hurry up with a bill to restore British expats’ full voting rights. The Government promised in the Queen’s Speech in May to abolish the so-called “15-year rule”. This currently prevents around a million of the five million Britons overseas from voting in UK and European elections if they have lived out of the country for that period of time. However, the Votes for Life Bill to restore their rights has not been tabled for debate in Parliament yet. With the EU referendum looming in 2017 – and potentially as early as next year – expats in Europe are concerned they might not be able to participate. In May, a Downing Street spokesman indicated that the 15-year rule would remain in place for the referendum, causing concern among expats who want to have their say.

Myanmar: Millions abroad to miss out on chance to vote on November 8 | Myanmar Times

According to the 2014 census, about 2 million Myanmar are living abroad, with about 70 percent in Thailand. However, the number is thought to be much higher, with 2-3 million in Thailand alone. And not all those who have registered will get the right to vote. UEC chair U Tin Aye said the commission is checking applications, known as “Form 15”, and comparing them with the voter lists back in Myanmar to determine eligibility. “We will be issuing the final voter list for the whole country on September 14,” U Tin Aye said. “This list will determine who has the right to vote.” Officials did not clarify where the Form 15 supplicants had submitted their applications from. The Myanmar Times called the Myanmar embassies in Thailand and Malaysia multiple times to ask how many people had filed applications but there was no answer.

Philippines: Internet voting for overseas voters opposed for lack of security | Filipino Express

An election lawyer urged the Commission on Elections (Comelec), on Sunday, to scrap plans of employing Internet voting technology for overseas absentee voting (OAV) in the May 2016 balloting in the absence of clear-cut rules on such a scheme. Laywer Romulo Macalintal said for the May 9 elections in next year, the Comelec should just stick to the existing mode of voting for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) since some provisions of the Overseas Voting Act of 2013 were vague. “Definitely, the election body should wait for clearer provisions of the law allowing Internet voting and its mechanisms,” Macalintal told reporters, citing that under the law, the Comelec has been merely allowed “to explore” Internet-based technology for OAV.

Singapore: Singaporeans overseas to vote at 10 polling stations, Dubai the latest addition | The Straits Times

Singapore citizens located overseas will be able to cast their votes for the 2015 General Election at 10 designated overseas polling stations, the Elections Department announced in a press release on Thursday (Sept 3). The Singapore Consulate-General in Dubai will be the newest added to the list, after it was designated an overseas polling station this year. The other overseas polling stations are in London, Tokyo, Beijing, Washington, Hong Kong, Shanghai, San Francisco, New York and Canberra. They are all places where a significant number of Singaporeans are present.

Nigeria: Voting Right for Nigerians in Diaspora Soon – Osinbajo |

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo says voting right will soon be extended to Nigerians in Diaspora. Osinbajo stated this while declaring open a two-day 2015 Diaspora Day Conference organised by the Office of the Secretary to the Government of Federation yesterday in Abuja. “Our electoral process is evolving and as greater confidence is built in the institutions and processes associated with it, we may then create voting opportunities for our citizens abroad in the not too distant future”, he said.

Ireland: Who won’t vote in the referendums? The exiled children of Ireland | Irish Times

For the last nine years I have had the privilege of being the chairman of the Washington Ireland Program (WIP), a well-established leadership programme that brings 30 young future leaders from the Republic and Northern Ireland to Washington, DC every summer for two months. More than 300 Irish university students annually apply to the WIP programme. The selection process is fair but rigorous and only one in 10 applicants makes the cut. Every year there are several gay students on the programme. These young people are idealistic, patriotic, full of spark and intellectual curiosity – just the type of leaders that Ireland will need in the coming decade. They are passionate about equality and are working hard to turn out a Yes vote in the upcoming referendum with their many straight friends. In London, Lorcan O Cathain, a WIP graduate, has organised “Change Ireland”, which is raising money to help Irish voters get back to Ireland in time to vote on the 22nd. What a valiant effort to get around Ireland restrictive voting laws.

United Kingdom: Conservative win means end in sight for 15 year expat voting limit | The Connexion

A Conservative victory at the UK general elections means the UK will now be expected to hold to a pledge to end the 15-year limit on the expat vote. That was one of the party’s main promises to Britons overseas, and it was the only party to offer it unequivocally. However, the Conservatives will also now be expected to follow through with another policy likely to divide expats much more – an in/out referendum on the EU, by the end of 2017. The party has not clarified if it would give the vote back to long-term expats in time to take part in it.