Proposed legislation could affect Americans overseas
ACA supports the Congress’s efforts to stop foreign donations to affect US elections. However, legislation should be written to ensure that Americans overseas who want to donate to election campaigns are not shut out of the process.
HR-4177 “Stop Foreign Donations Affecting Our Elections Act,” introduced by Representative Gosar (R-AZ) on December 3, 2015 with 81 co-sponsors, includes a provision stating that, for credit card donations made via the internet, the credit card used must be linked to a US billing address. To address the lack of a US billing address for Americans overseas, the legislation calls for having Americans resident overseas include their voting address in lieu of a US billing address.
ACA believes that this provision only complicates the process. Political committees sometimes verify addresses by sending postal mail to the person claiming that address. If a letter is returned “address unknown” or “undeliverable,” then the address is disallowed. This would disenfranchise that donor.
Additionally, there are Americans overseas who will not have a voting address. Many Americans born overseas who have never lived in the United States cannot register to vote because of state residency requirements. Only 37 of the US states allow Americans who have never resided in the US to claim one of their US citizen parents' legal state of residence as their own. See: https://www.fvap.gov/citizen-voter/reside
ACA is working on educating the legislature on alternatives. Let your Representatives in Congress know how you feel about this legislation by writing to them today.