Dubai: A small window of time remains for American expatriates living in the UAE to vote from abroad in what are expected to be heavily contested United States midterm elections on November 6.
And with a razor-thin majority now of only two seats in the Senate for Republicans under threat and Democrats only 23 seats short of assuming control of the 435 US House of Representatives, stakes are high for President Donald Trump who is half way through his first term.
Expats can still obtain their ballot forms electronically in order to courier or email their ballots back to home states for the election, said a spokesperson for the Embassy of the United States in the UAE who noted that by last count, there were 52,613 American citizens living in UAE in 2017.
“US citizens can receive an absentee ballot by email, fax, or internet download, depending on the state they are eligible to vote in. We encourage all American citizens voting from abroad to consult the online Voting Assistance Guide [online] for their state’s current instructions,” the spokesperson told Gulf News.
“The deadline to accept completed absentee ballots has passed, so at this time, the Embassy cannot guarantee that any ballots mailed from the UAE will be received on time in the United States to be counted in the election,” the spokesperson said. “Many states allow you to submit your FPCA [Federal Post Car Application} electronically and all states allow for at least one form of electronic transmission of your blank ballot.”
Cara Nazari, Executive Director of bipartisan AmCham Dubai (formerly known as American Business Council), said, “This year, interest is high [in midterms] in its own right. Looking back two years, there may have been a sense by some that absentee ballots were not relevant. Today, I believe, and most individuals I know, understand how important it is to take an active role in the process.“
Nazari told US expats: “It is still possible to make your voice count and be involved in what is one of the most important rights we have as Americans.”
Dr Steven Anderson, chairman of the Republicans Overseas-United Arab Emirates branch, told Gulf News that if “Republicans fail to maintain their majority then entire legislative plan of the Trump Administration would be at risk, further judicial appointments will be delayed as will further changes to America’s tax code. The Democrats have made it clear that if we saw obstructions to the Trump agenda now, just wait if Republicans lose any of these majorities.”
Eileen Weinberg, a Democrats Abroad member, writing on the organisation’s website, encouraged Democratic expatriate voters to, “Help win back the House and Senate. Americans abroad can vote in elections for federal office: every overseas voter is entitled to vote for US Senators and US Representative. Remember that every seat in the House is up for election. And Democrats are defending 26 of the 34 seats up for election in the Senate so we need to get out every vote,” Weinberg said.
California citizen and UAE expatriate Cynthia Beermann said: “Despite being so far from “home”, I’ve made casting my vote a priority. I want to be part of the (PSN) movement to get women (and men) to the polls, no matter where they’re living. Given the political situation, I vow to do my part, despite the hoops I have to jump through to get this ballot logged in the state of California, to make my voice heard and try to enact change,” Beermann told Gulf News.
Get your last-minute absentee ballot
“We encourage all American citizens to consult the State Department’s webpage about absentee voting from abroad: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/international-travel/while-abroad/voting.html,” said an US Embassy spokesperson.
Emergency “Federal Write-In Ballots” can also be obtained by logging in to: https://www.fvap.gov/uploads/FVAP/Forms/fwab.pdf