- The Washington Times - Friday, November 10, 2000

While Americans at home were closely divided between the two candidates, Americans abroad may have a critical impact in denying Al Gore the presidency.
There are about 6 million Americans abroad, about half of whom are military or military dependent, and the other half of whom have other business overseas, ranging from school to venture capitalism. Their ballots had to be postmarked by Nov. 7, and have 10 days from then to reach their precincts.
According to Michael Johnson, executive director of Republicans Abroad, up to 70 percent Americans who cast their ballots from overseas will vote for Mr. Bush. Members of the armed services tend to be Republicans, as do those with business interests at stake, whether at home or abroad. Joan Hills, the Republicans Abroad Voter Registration chairman, said that "The overseas American are a solid Republican constituency."
If Republicans overseas help give Mr. Bush the presidency, it would not be the first time they had a significant impact on national elections. Newt Gingrich credited Republicans abroad with swinging 15 congressional seats in 1996, and Florida Sen. Connie Mack was narrowly elected in 1988, thanks at least in part to the vote from Florida-registered voters. Republicans living abroad may be more inclined to register as Florida residents, since Florida does not have a state income tax. Some 2,300 Floridians living abroad cast ballots in 1996, and Mrs. Hills said that she believes Florida would receive far more votes this year in a heavy turnout.
Unsurprisingly, Democrats expect that Americans abroad will vote for Mr. Gore. Thomas Fina, the executive director of Democrats Abroad, said that overseas ballots would be overwhelmingly Democratic, although he declined to give an exact estimate.
Americans abroad may well help give the presidency to Mr. Bush. After all, they have been directly affected the adventures in nation-building proposed by Mr. Gore and by the decline in military readiness under the Clinton-Gore administration.

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