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Given the unusual circumstances as the UK and US go into lockdown to halt the spread of COVID19, it's easy to miss important updates as we approach the 2020 US Presidential Election. As Vice President Joe Biden and Senator Bernie Sanders continue to campaign to become the Democratic nominee for US President, Democrats Abroad have confirmed that Senator Sanders has won the Democratic Global Presidential Primary.
The primary, which took place during the early weeks of March, saw 39,984 Americans successfully cast their ballot, a 15% rise from 2016. Bernie Sanders received 57.9% of the abroad vote, securing 9 delegates for the Democratic National Convention, while Joe Biden received 22.7% of the vote and 4 delegates.
Julia Bryan, Global Chair of Democrats Abroad, said that "Americans abroad have spoken, and they’ve done so in higher numbers than ever, despite the challenges of Covid-19". Ms Bryan went on to "congratulate all of our volunteers and leaders for helping voters participate - either remotely, or in voting centers, and I’d like to thank the voters in 180 countries who cast their ballot in our largest-ever Global Presidential Primary".
This year's Primary is a particular success for Overseas Americans, in that it highlights the growing importance of candidates understanding and responding to the specific needs and concerns of US Citizens living outside of the US. Amanda Mohar, Communications Director, explained that "Americans abroad are consistently a very blue voting bloc, and the turnout we’ve seen during the primary, as well as in voter turnout of general elections in 2016 and 2018, reflect that. Our voters believe in affordable healthcare and education, and a government that looks after its people - both those citizens at home and abroad".
At the 2016 election, the FVAP (Federal Voting Assistance Program) estimated that there are over 3 million US Citizens living overseas who are eligible to vote, meaning that the expat vote is an important element to consider for candidates considering their policies and platforms. With hot topics including FATCA and US Tax continuing to be discussed, an increase in the number of overseas Americans registering to vote and participating would help to highlight the needs of US Citizens living outside of the States. To make sure you're registered to vote in this November's Presidential Election, check out the FVAP for advice and information: www.fvap.gov.