Children of immigrants from the US who have American citizenship but have never
lived there are eligible to vote in the upcoming elections in 24 states,
including six of the eight key battleground states, according to information on
a US government website meant to help overseas voters.
Estimates of the
number of Americans eligible to vote in the US living, working or studying in
Israel vary widely from 100,000 to 250,000.
Jason Seymour, the deputy
chief of the American citizens’ services section at the US Embassy in Tel Aviv,
said that in the 2008 elections an estimated 30,000 ballots were cast from
Seymour is in charge of an embassy outreach program aimed at
helping American citizens in the country vote in the elections, some 55 days
He said the State Department was willing to work with all
non-partisan organizations around the world promoting absentee voting, and that
the embassy was cooperating with the efforts of the newly formed group
iVoteIsrael, which was set up to get out the vote for the US elections in
The six swing states where children of immigrants can vote if one
of their parents is eligible to do so in that state are Colorado, Iowa,
Wisconsin, Ohio, Virginia and New Hampshire.
The 2000 presidential race
between George W. Bush and Al Gore was decided by 537 absentee ballots cast in
Florida and Nevada, the other two states widely perceived as
toss-ups at this stage in the campaign, do not allow the children of former
residents to vote there.
While some immigrants’ children with American
citizenship may worry about how voting will impact their US tax-paying
responsibilities, according to the website of the Federal Voting Assistance
Program, “voting for candidates for federal offices does not affect your federal
or state tax liability.”
Seymour said that while it varied from state to
state, most states required registration 30 days before Election Day, which this
year falls on November 6. In addition, time needs to be allotted for sending out
the empty ballot, and sending back the marked one.
Seymour said the
embassy was available from 8 to 11 a.m., Monday to Friday, to answer
voter-related questions and help people get registration forms and absentee
ballots. In addition, he said, questions could be emailed to