US election voter registration for Americans living here up 210%

US election voter registration for Americans living here up 210%

Carija Ihus, chair of Democrats Abroad Ireland said: "Dublin followed by Galway and then Cork would be the main population areas for Americans living in Ireland."

Voter registration for Americans living in Ireland is up 210% from 2016.

Thousands of Americans here have newly registered to vote in their upcoming presidential election on November 3.

Democrats Abroad Ireland has been helping people on both sides to register to vote.

According to Census 2016, there are approximately 70,000 Americans living in Ireland.

“Voter registration is up 210% from the 2016 elections,” Carija Ihus, chair of Democrats Abroad Ireland said.

An American citizen living abroad uses the website votefromabroad.org to register with their local election office in their home state or county. Their local office then issues them with a ballot.

 

In 30 US states, citizens can vote by email, fax or post, but in 20 they can only vote by post.

Democrats Abroad Ireland has also received far more requests for help with voting for this election than in 2016. 

In that year, the group carried out two voter registration drives, but this time they have visited 10 counties so far - including Limerick, Donegal, Cork, Cavan, Galway, Dublin, and Sligo.

“We literally stand on the street, we’ve got American flags and we hold up signs. People come up and they say they’re American and we walk them through the website on their phones. Dublin followed by Galway and then Cork would be the main population areas for Americans living in Ireland,” Ms Ihus explained.

Of the 70,000 Americans here some hold dual citizenship and are people who emigrated from Ireland to the US but returned home to retire.

Ms Ihus said their organisation goes across the political divide when it comes to voter registration.

“Republican, Democrat, Independent - we don’t care how they’re going to vote, it’s a federally protected right. We might not agree, but we’re not into voter suppression or repression. We will help you to vote, that’s what a free and fair election is about,” she said.

From their 10, in-person events Ms Ihus said people from both sides are “really impassioned” about this election.

Trump supporters here state that they are voting for him because they believe “he is not a politician”, “he is for the people” and “he will make America great again”.

However, it is mostly Joe Biden voters they have come across at their events.

“From what we see, it’s mostly Biden supporters and Democratic supporters, about 80-90%.

“They’ll approach us and ask: ‘Are you for Trump or for Biden?’ You explain and they say: ‘Oh good, we were hoping you weren’t Trump supporters’,” said Ms Ihus.

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