Q&A: A drive to help American expats in Germany vote from abroad
There are nearly half a million Americans living in Germany, and many have not registered to cast their votes for this year's contentious midterm elections, come November 6th.
One of them, Eliza Levinson, is organizing a voter registration drive this Saturday, September 22nd, in the hopes of getting more voters on board.
Why do you think U.S. expats often don’t vote, even when they have strong political views?
Purely from my own perspective, I think many US expats probably would like to vote as an abstract concept, but often don't have extensive information about how to do that, where to register, and when by.
Because of that, a lot of people don't necessarily always have the time or energy to locate everything they need to on their own, which is where I decided to jump in.
What are you doing to make it easier for U.S. expats to vote?
In order to make it easier for US expats in Berlin to vote, I'm teaming up with my friends at the Workshop in Kreuzberg and Democrats Abroad to host a voter registration and absentee ballot request event for any American citizen currently in Berlin. At the event, we'll provide all the materials voters will need to make sure that they're adequately registered and able to get their ballots in time for the 2018 midterms.
What if someone can't make the event, or lives in another part of Germany?
Vote From Abroad offers resources and guides for US voters overseas, and we're encouraging people who can't make the Saturday event to check out how to register on their website.
Is this the first such voter registration drive you’ve organized?
This is the first such drive I've done in Germany, yes! I also hosted a voter registration when I was in high school, but that was in the US.
Where are you from, and how did you get the idea to organize a drive?
I moved to Berlin from Los Angeles and have been living here for a year. I got the idea to organize the drive because I'm a very politically engaged person and have worked with a lot of social justice and activism back home in the States, so I've often felt painfully far away from all of the discord that's happening in the US right now, and was not sure of the best way to help.
Why are midterm elections in the U.S. so crucial?
The midterms this November are going to be really crucial if Democrats are hoping to successfully impeach Trump and get him out of office, and I had a very strong feeling the vast majority of other American expats in Berlin share my politics - and probably also shared my lack of updated absentee voter registration!
I'm hoping this can be the first in many other similar politically active events for other US expats to stay involved in American politics from overseas...but what exactly that looks like, we'll have to wait and see!