American expat voter turnout for US primary jumps from 2016

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The Democrats Abroad primary took place last week, with participation significantly increasing in Hong Kong and worldwide.

Photo: Volunteers at the Democrats Abroad polling station in Hong Kong.

From 3 March until earlier this Wednesday, Americans around the world voted in the Democrats Abroad primary election by mail, fax, or e-mail, with Hong Kong’s in-person voting taking place on three separate days at various locations.

This year saw a great increase in participation worldwide, with polling station turnout on Super Tuesday increasing by 50 percent compared to the event in the 2016 election. 

Nicholas Gordon, chair of Democrats Abroad Hong Kong, is happy to note that Hong Kong also saw a rise in participation this year.

“Here in Hong Kong, interest in our organisation increased tremendously over the past few weeks as people registered to vote in the Global Primary, with our HK membership growing by 14 percent over the primary period.”

Americans voting from overseas send in their ballots despite being aware that their votes don’t always significantly impact election outcomes, comments Mr Ross Feingold, former Asia chair of Republicans Abroad and political risk analyst.

“However, a close presidential election in a swing state that can change the electoral college result is a reminder that the absentee votes can play a crucial role,” he says. 

Mr Feingold posits that long term expatriates are also motivated to vote in an effort to change tax laws and financial account reporter regulations, although it may be in vain.

“It’s clear that through several cycles of changes between the party that controls one or both houses of Congress as well as the White House, absentee votes are not a sufficient impetus for elected officials to substantively change these laws and regulations.”

Preliminary results from the primary may be released in the next week.

Volunteers pictured at the Democrats Abroad one of the polling stations in Hong Kong.

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