Volunteers Dig Deeper to Get Out the Expat Vote in Upcoming US Elections

Whitney Eulich - The Christian Science Monitor
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September 19, 2016

5 Things That Are Harder Than Registering to Vote, Featuring President Obama (BuzzFeedVideo)

Encouraging Americans living outside the US to vote is nothing new. But Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s multiple jabs at Mexico, combined with his impromptu and poorly received visit last month, has many here feeling that the stakes are higher in this election. And the intertwined histories, migration, and trade of Mexico and the US have created a scenario where some of the very people Mr. Trump has characterized as a threat are eligible to have a say in the outcome of the election.

“This is the first election that we’ve focused on Spanish-preference [US] citizens in Mexico,” says Larry Pihl, the Get Out the Vote Chair for Democrats Abroad-Mexico, who spoke by telephone from Monterrey, where he was conducting voter outreach.

“There’s a lot of traction to register voters this year, and Trump has helped infinitely,” says Erik Markeset, a volunteer with Democrats Abroad who doesn’t identify with a particular political party. He’s flipping through a thick book listing US voter jurisdictions while he helps register a young woman from Colorado.

William Barb registered to vote in a US election from Mexico for the first time this year.

“There are a lot of people I know here who have family in the US, and they tell me, ‘If I could vote, I’d do it to help my parents, my siblings, my friends,’” he says. Mr. Barb’s father was born and raised in Pennsylvania, and moved to Mexico as a young adult, where he met his wife and started a family. The younger Barb became a dual citizen, but identifies primarily as Mexican. He, his wife, and their two children moved to Los Angeles in 1999 to escape the “difficult situation in Mexico,” but moved back after nearly nine years, and say they have no plans to return.

“We didn’t know how to vote in the US election from Mexico, but we knew we legally could,” Barb says. With help from an American neighbor, his entire family has filed the required paperwork via email and plans to cast ballots by mail on Nov. 8.

Read the rest at The Christian Science Monitor

Related: New Campaign Urges Latinos to Express Cultural Pride by Voting (The Huffington Post)

Related: Mexican Band Maná Urges Latinos to Vote in U.S. Election (Reuters)

  Learn about Democrats Abroad Mexico

  Learn about Overseas Vote Foundation (OVF)

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