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Expats in Mexico could decide U.S. election

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A U.S. citizen living in Mexico puts a sticker on after filling out a ballot during the Super Tuesday primary voting at a polling place in Mexico City on March 1. Photo: Getty
A U.S. citizen living in Mexico puts a sticker on after filling out a ballot during the Super Tuesday primary voting at a polling place in Mexico City on March 1. Photo: Getty

Expats living in Mexico may feel they have escaped the divisiveness of Washington politics. They haven’t.

Everyone in Mexico registered to vote in the U.S., especially those from battleground states, is being urged to cast an absentee ballot to decide the next president.

In a close race, the vote abroad is that much more critical, the Dallas Morning News notes in a story published today, just over one month from Election Day on Nov. 8.

Both Democrats and Republicans in Mexico say they’re seeing a huge spike in interest as they organize the “get out the vote” effort. Many are hosting large gatherings, including debate-watching parties. Or, of course, piñata parties.

Voters in Mexico City register at the U.S. Consulate. Getty
Voters in Mexico City register at the U.S. Consulate. Photo: Getty

The 2000 election, when George W. Bush beat Al Gore in a controversial election that ended up before the Supreme Court, “raised awareness of the potential role of overseas Americans’ ballots,” said Amanda Klekowski von Koppenfels, a senior lecturer in migration and politics at the University of Kent in England and author of Migrants or Expatriates? Americans in Europe.

“Overseas Americans are not polled; they could indeed provide winning margins in close elections,” she told the Dallas Morning News, which has reporters over the Texas-Mexico border.

“[Expats] are on the front lines of American foreign policy and will be among the first to feel the repercussions of a more isolationist stance,” said James F. Hollifield, a professor of politics and science and director of the Tower Center at Southern Methodist University.
Americans in Mexico

At least a million Americans live throughout Mexico, according to the U.S. State Department. Only Canada has more U.S. citizens than Mexico, but Trump’s rhetoric about a border wall and immigration has made being from the U.S. a bit more awkward these days.

But expats in Mexico aren’t necessarily against The Donald.

“I think I like him more than Ronald Reagan,” said Ed Cage, 72, a Texan who moved to Ajijic with his wife, Karen, nearly eight years ago.

The Trump supporters will vote absentee from Mexico.

On the other side, the chair of Democrats Abroad in Mexico is Jody Quinnell, who gets approached by Mexican at the market. When they complain about Trump, she said she quickly tells them she’s not voting for the Republican candidate.

She said she’s appalled by Trump’s anti-Mexican rhetoric “These are people we work with, neighbors, friends,” the Mazatlán resident said.

Both Democrat and Republican groups help expats navigate the process of voting from abroad. As well, the U.S. Consulate helps U.S. voters in Mexico cast their ballots. 

Absentee voting from Mexico is a simple two-step process. Every year, send a completed Federal Post Card Application to your local election officials. They confirm your eligibility to vote, and put your name on a list to receive absentee ballots for any elections held that calendar year.

They send you a blank absentee ballot electronically or by mail. You complete the ballot and send it back so it arrives before your state’s ballot return deadline.

But if you haven’t received your blank ballot in time, ,use the emergency Federal Write-in Absentee Ballot to vote.

The Federal Voting Assistance Program is a resource to help all eligible citizens cast their ballots.

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