The 51st State? 4 Million Expatriates Play Key Role in Election, Notes Clements

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Millions of Americans live outside the United States--more than the populations in 26 states--and they may play a key role in the upcoming Presidential election.

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While much attention has been rightly paid to the voting issues facing women and men in the American military, it's also appropriate to be aware of the role of other Americans living and working outside the U.S., such as businesspeople, students and professors, and their families

Millions of Americans living overseas may play a key role in the upcoming Presidential election, noted Clements International, a provider of insurance and financial services to organizations and individuals working outside the United States.

More than four million Americans live outside the United States--more than the populations in 26 states. Americans living outside the U.S. vote at a higher rate than stateside citizens, according to the expatriate groups organizing Overseas Americans Week.

"Expatriate Americans are a de facto 51st state," noted Lloyd Yavener, vice president of marketing of Clements International, which sponsored Overseas Americans Week in 2008 to draw attention to the citizenship rights of American businesspeople, government employees, aid workers, educators and others who earn their livelihoods outside of the United States but who still call the U.S. home.

Expatriate Americans have unique problems as citizens: no direct representation in Washington, weak absentee-voting procedures, and complications in tax laws and federal benefits programs. A 2006 survey by the Overseas Vote Foundation found that 20% of respondents reported being stymied in their efforts to vote, largely because they could not submit or receive registrations or ballots in time.

"Americans living and working outside of the U.S. face challenges unknown to most domestic residents," explained Yavener. "Yet in the great tradition of American elections, these voters may well make a difference in the upcoming election cycle.

"While much attention has been rightly paid to the voting issues facing women and men in the American military, it's also appropriate to be aware of the role of other Americans living and working outside the U.S., such as businesspeople, students and professors, and their families," he added.

Overseas American Week is jointly led by three organizations: Association of American Residents Overseas, American Citizens Abroad, and Federation of American Women's Clubs Overseas.

About Clements International
Clements International is the leading provider of insurance for expatriates, international schools, multinational businesses and relief organizations. Founded in 1947, Clements offers worldwide auto, property, health, life and commercial insurance, directly and through its Global Broker Network. Clements' superior customer service and claims response are enjoyed by customers in more than 170 countries around the globe.

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