We asked Democrat and Republican representatives what the key election issues are to US citizens living in France and other overseas countries. This is what they told us.
DEMOCRATS: Democrats Abroad France sees government accountability, voting rights, civil rights and due process of law – “basic things” which they feel are “under threat” – as key issues, says national chairwoman Ada Shen. Healthcare is another, and is especially important to Americans in France, who see the benefits of a universal system here, especially in these times of the Covid-19 crisis.
Climate change is also important. “Many have been appalled by the Trump administration’s attitude and want to see policies which reflect the gravity of the situation according to the science.” Concerning postal voting, Ms Shen said: “There was a big backlog because of Covid and the changes made by the Trump administration, but it seems OK and I do not think that there will be problems.”
She acknowledged that the Fatca act brought in under Obama, which complicates banking for Americans in France, is a problem. She said Democrats Abroad has been trying to address it, but they have been hampered by the lack of a cross-party consensus on what should be done. However, she did not think this would be a deciding factor for most voters. Democrats Abroad France has around 12,000 members, she said.
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REPUBLICANS: Donald Trump’s commitment to law and order will be a deciding factor for many Americans, says Randy Yaloz, president of Republicans Overseas, France. “It is the one issue everyone is talking about, and at the moment the Democrats are losing votes on it,” he told The Connexion in late September. “They look at the rioting in the streets, and the damage done to businesses just when the economy needs all the help it can get to recover from Covid and they want strong action.”
Another vote-winner will be his tough position towards China, he said, while the controversial Fatca law is a rallying call for US citizens overseas. “As Republicans Overseas, we have been active in challenging it in the courts, against the IRS [American tax office] and even moved in Congress to try to get the law changed, but we were blocked by not having a Democrat join and sponsor the bill.”
Mr Yaloz said Republicans Overseas has “several hundred” supporters in France, with almost all voting by post. Despite controversy, it does not “seem to be a problem”, he said. “I got my papers this week and my son has his, so there is plenty of time to post by the end of September or early October to reach the States.”