US presidential primaries start in January: How to vote from France

The Democratic and Republican parties will choose their candidates for November’s presidential election

The parties will hold primary and caucus votes this year to choose their candidates for the presidential election in November
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The Democratic and Republican parties will choose their candidates for November’s presidential election at a series of primary elections and caucuses starting this month. We look at how US citizens in France and other countries can vote in these.

Primaries and caucuses take place at state level to determine which delegates go to each party’s national convention to select their respective presidential candidates.

In 2024, they will take place over six months from January to June.

They start with the Republican Iowa caucus on January 15, followed by joint Republican and Democratic presidential primaries in New Hampshire on January 23.

“It is an important part of being an expat to participate in the election process in the United States,” Paul Reen, the president of the association Republicans in France, told The Connexion.

A spokesperson for Democrats Abroad, Sharon Manitta, echoed this sentiment.

“You must show your support for democracy,” she said.

How can Americans abroad vote in the US primaries?

To participate, you must be registered to vote in the US.

In most cases, you must also be registered with the political party of the primary in which you would like to participate, with no room for double-dipping - you can only participate in one.

  • For the Democratic Party nomination, you can either vote in the state in which you are registered to vote, or in the Global Presidential Primary specifically for US citizens abroad (see below).
  • For the Republican Party nomination, you can only vote in the state in which you are registered to vote.

To see the key dates and requirements to participate in each primary vote visit thewebsite of the U.S. Vote Foundation, which is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organisation dedicated to increase participation in elections.

Additional information on how to register and vote from abroad can be found at

How can Americans in France participate in US state caucus votes?

Unlike primary votes, which operate more like a general election with a secret ballot, caucuses are in-person meetings.

They typically feature discussion and debate followed by an informal vote to determine the state’s delegates.

The number of states that hold caucuses has been in decline for years.

However, if you are registered to vote in a caucus state and would like to participate in the Republican Party nomination, your options may be limited.

The Iowa Republican caucus, for instance, does not offer mail-in voting, meaning that Americans in France can only participate if they go home.

However, Americans abroad can mail in a ‘presidential preference card’ to take part in the Iowa Democratic caucus.

How does the Democratic Global Presidential Primary work?

The Global Presidential Primary (GPP) is organised by Democrats Abroad, the official overseas organisation of the Democratic Party.

Democrats Abroad has state-level recognition from the Democratic National Committee, which means it sends its own delegates to the Democratic National Convention.

The GPP will run from March 5 to 12, 2024 at voting centres around the world.

To vote in this primary, you must be a US citizen, live abroad, be a member of Democrats Abroad (which is free), and not vote in any other 2024 state presidential primary.

Voters may register in person or on the official website. Same day voting is accepted.

The primary takes place at voting centres around the world and also accepts votes by email, fax, or post.

Remote primary ballots will be available from February 13 to March 12, 2024.

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