Voting & Representation

What is the problem?

Thirteen US states refuse to extend voting rights to persons who have never lived in the United States but are US citizens by virtue of the US citizenship of one or both parents. Despite being ineligible to vote, these overseas citizens are subject to all of the tax reporting and payment obligations incumbent upon all other United States citizens, and hence present a textbook case of taxation without representation. American Citizens Abroad favors the correction of this inequitable treatment through extension of voting rights by all US states to any overseas US citizen having a parent previously resident in that state, irrespective of whether he or she has ever resided in the US.

Voting from overseas should be timely, simple and straightforward and rigorous procedures should be in place that enable confirmation that all ballots voted were properly tabulated. US citizens living and working overseas can vote in Federal elections, and in some cases State elections however, as a group their vote which represents their interests and concerns, is spread of 50 states and 435 Congressional districts.  It is difficult therefore to get a focused attention to the community’s' issues from any one Representative. Some countries like France and Italy have Delegates or Representatives specifically for their expatriate citizens.

What we are doing about it?

ACA has consistently supported defensive legislation and litigants engaged in the business of assuring that this fundamental right be available without excessive bureaucracy and continues to advocate for the remaining 13 US States correct voting laws to allow all US citizens the right to vote from overseas.. See: Supreme Court Upholds ACA Position on Voting Rights

How can you help?

What has been achieved so far?

ACA sits on the Advisory Board of the US Vote Foundation ( a non-partisan, non-profit voter assistance organization dedicated to helping American citizens overseas and in the military participate in elections. Working with organizations such as US Vote Foundation insures that ACA is doing its upmost to advocate for overseas Americans voting rights. ACA also participates in the annual voting summit held in Washington, DC. 

An important body representing US citizens overseas is the Americans Abroad Caucus in the House of Representatives. This Caucus, representing many states and all regions of the nation, from the West Coast, the Mid West, the South and the East Coast. ACA maintains ongoing contact with the Caucus Chairs and members updating them on issues affecting Americans living and working overseas.

The National Taxpayer Advocate is Your Voice at the IRS and its organization, the Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS) is an independent organization within the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Its job is to ensure that every taxpayer is treated fairly and that you know and understand your rights. Alongside of TAS is the Taxpayer Advocate Panel (TAP) consisting of 75 volunteer members, including a representative for US citizens living and working overseas. The NTA has consistently highlighted the problems of US citizens overseas in their Annual Report to Congress.

View our submissions to Congress on this issue and others here

How can I find out more?

In this Section

If you have never lived in the US, you can probably still register to vote

FAQ about Voting from Abroad

Americans Abroad Caucus