- Title: Americans living in Germany call on fellow voters abroad to cast their ballot
- Date: 6th November 2016
- Summary: WEBSITE SHOWING MAP WITH ELECTION FORECASTS IN U.S. STATES
- Embargoed: 21st November 2016 12:41
- Keywords: United States presidential elections Democrats abroad Republicans overseas
- Location: BERLIN, FRANKFURT, GERMANY
- City: BERLIN, FRANKFURT, GERMANY
- Country: Germany
- Topics: Government/Politics,Elections/Voting
- Reuters ID: LVA00457B2GQV
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: With the United States Presidential elections only two days away, volunteers for the Democrats abroad were busy on Saturday evening (November 5) to make sure their fellow U.S. citizen would cast their ballot.
Some of the Berlin Democrats abroad set up a makeshift office in a flat in the German capital, from where they called American expats as well as the ones home in order to assure votes for the candidate of the Democrats, Hillary Clinton.
"This is a very important election, so even though we are living very far away, in Germany right now, we still want to stay engaged and involved and we believe that we can still contribute to the election and to Hillary Clinton winning," said one of the volunteers, Diego Rievas.
One of the main problems in presidential elections in the United States generally is the low voter turnout, Rievas added, with many U.S. citizen just not knowing the conditions of the voting process.
"So one of the challenges is that elections in the United States are run by the states, so every state is a little different. So I vote in California, but that has different rules to say Ohio or Florida, so the reason that we reach out to people is to make sure that they can navigate that system. Because they have different deadlines, they have different requirements and different ways that you can register. So our goal is to make sure that we guide people through that process and answer any questions and once you are abroad a lot of the time people have problems of receiving their ballots, the mail is slow, so we try to make sure no matter what they receive their ballot and they get it in on time," explained another volunteer for the Democrats abroad, Eva Moore.
For Moore the upcoming election is important on a very personal level, she added: "I am a big Obama democrat and I think his legacy is on the line here with this election too. I think she is a very strong candidate in her own right, but of course we have an instance where her opponent is very extreme and very radical and the consequences I think are great, both internationally as well domestically."
Even though historical votes amongst Americans abroad are evenly distributed between the Democrats and Republicans, Clinton seems to have good chances this time, predicted Christian Lammert, a political expert at the Free University in Berlin, who specialises in North American politics: "This election is a bit different, because we can see in the U.S. that Donald Trump is able to especially draw men without an academic background. And there we can see with the Republicans and Democrats abroad, especially the Democrats abroad, that they often vote for Hillary Clinton more often as they are not satisfied with Donald Trump. I would say that this year looking at Americans abroad, there is an advantage for Hillary Clinton."
And the votes from abroad could make a difference in the outcome of the elections.
"In the world there are about 8.7 million expats that are eligible to vote and this is the 15th largest state in population if you compare it to the United States, so expats votes can be important. And if you look for example in 2000, when we had the issue with George Bush against Gore, the number, the margin that Bush won was very small and just a few expat votes could have changed the outcome of the entire election," said Thomas Leiser, head of the Republicans overseas located in Germany's financial hub Frankfurt.
Living in Germany Leiser is used to a strong German tendency towards the Democrats, with - according to their straw polls - 95 percent in favour of the party.
As a Republican by upbringing, Leiser voted for his inherent party and hence for Trump. Quite frankly, he was not my first choice for candidate," he admitted, "but I think he is the lesser of two evils in candidates for the U.S. Presidency."
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton holds a five-point lead over Republican Donald Trump in the latest Washington Post-ABC Tracking Poll released early on Sunday (November 6).
In the Post-ABC poll released on Friday, Clinton led Trump by 47 percent to 44 percent.
Clinton had an advantage in affirmative support, the poll said, with 55 percent of backers saying they are mainly supporting her, compared with 43 percent of Trump voters. More Trump voters say they "mainly oppose Clinton."
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