X marks the spot

Today much of the US has gone to the polls to decide which of the candidates will represent the Democrats and the Republicans in the upcoming election. With more than twenty states holding their primaries today, it’s one of the most important days on the road to the 2008 presidential vote.

As a student of political history, and a keen follower of news from the campaign trail, it feels both strange and painful not to be able to play my own small part in the process. Despite being a federal and state tax payer, I remain one of the disenfranchised. Most of the USA knows today as Super Tuesday, but for me it could best be described as, well, Tuesday.

Of course, if there was an election in the UK in November, I would be free to vote despite the fact that I pay no taxes in the UK and the result would have no immediate impact on my day-to-day life.

Perhaps what expats like myself need is some kind of exchange programme for voting rights? There must be New Yorkers who’ve moved from the Big Apple to South West London, who – like me – aren’t allowed to have any say in any forthcoming election in the country in which they reside. Rather than use our postal/absentee ballots, maybe we should be able to swap votes and have a direct impact on the economic and political system around us?

It’ll be like a timeshare system, without the need for beach towels or factor 25 suncream.

That said, if somebody tries to use my electoral privilege to vote for the Monster Raving Loony Party, there’s going to be trouble.

9 thoughts on “X marks the spot

  1. jessica in rome

    Hey I have been lurking your site for awhile, and I really like it by the way.

    I think the major difference for Americans abroad is that we have to pay taxes no matter where we are in the world. So even if I pay Italian tax, since I am American, I still have to file my US tax return. This keeps me very involved in US elections, even in my former city and county elections (since we have both federal and state taxes as you know). So despite the fact that you have to pay taxes now, if you become a citizen you’d have to pay FOREVER. So I guess what I am saying is for me, elections in the US do impact my day to day existence here in Italy. sigh.

  2. LB

    I think this is a good idea and one that’s far too logical idea for politicians to handle, sadly. How would the pollsters analyse those ‘swapped’ voters? etc.

  3. Expatmum

    But what about “no taxation without representation”? I think you should start a disenfranchised expat party and run on that slogan. I wonder who would get the irony?

  4. Almost American

    What Expatmum said!

    It pisses me off that they’ve rigged it so that I can’t vote in the UK any more even though I should be able to. (It would involve getting a proxy to vote for me, who would then have to get a postal ballot – way too complicated!)

  5. Dylan

    Afraid I can’t reveal that, Jamie! But let’s just say that I’m blue rather than red…not that it matters given my lack of vote!

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