As an American in Paris, I am one of nine million eligible voters living outside of the United States. In numbers, we are the equivalent of the 12th largest state in America.
Democrats have long understood not only the electoral power of overseas voters, but also their financial potential as fundraisers and donors. Democrats Abroad, the official organization of the Democratic Party for US citizens living outside the US, currently has members in more than 190 countries, with more than 41 organized country committees. Since 1976, they have played a vital role in ensuring and facilitating the voting process for Americans abroad.
Unlike Americans living in the US, Americans abroad must register to vote every year, and Democrats Abroad, through effective social media and grassroots efforts, has made sure we knew exactly how, when and where to do so.
The latest Global Presidential Primary, held in March 2016, welcomed voters to the polls in person in over 40 countries. (Americans in London were even serenaded by a Dixieland band as they cast their vote.)
In 2008, a total of 22,715 primary votes were counted from abroad. In 2016, that number rose to 34, 570, an indication that not only Democrats Abroad was doing a remarkable job, but also that we, as expatriates, could not sit this one out. Too much was at stake. Voter registration from abroad for the general election also doubled in 2016 from 2012.