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Voting from abroad in US elections (update)

If you’re American and live abroad, that does not mean you have to put your political views on hold come election time.

Make sure to check out this website Vote From Abroad for information on how to vote from other countries. A video is below. (Disclaimer: This is a Democrat-affiliated organization).

The US Embassy in Paris has also send out helpful information, below the video. The US Embassy’s page on Facebook is also a great resource.

In addition, the non-partisan, non-profit association Union of Overseas Voters has a site at WeVote.fr for tips. You can join them on Facebook.

They have also made these information sheets available for you:

Important Voting Facts for US citizens

About the Union of Overseas Voters

Flyer for help sessions in person in Paris (1st and 3rd Saturday of each month, 2-5pm at Shakespeare & Company, 37 rue de la Bûcherie, 75005 Paris)

Merci for the helpful documents!

If you have any stories about voting from abroad, feel free to post a comment. Happy voting!

Message from US Embassy Paris

Have a say in our country’s future. One of our most treasured values is the right and the privilege to vote – to participate actively in our country’s democratic process. This November, U.S. citizens will elect a President, a Vice President, one-third of the Senate, and the entire House of Representatives. The U.S. Embassy in France encourages all U.S. citizens to participate in this year’s elections, and stands ready to help you vote.

Almost all overseas U.S. citizens can vote. Twenty-two states and the District of Columbia now allow adult children who have never resided in the United States to vote using their parents’ state of voting residence. Details are available on the FVAP website at http://www.fvap.gov/reference/nvr-res.html.

Register and request a ballot. To vote, new laws require you to complete and submit a Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) this calendar year. The FPCA allows you to register to vote and request an absentee ballot. If you haven’t yet done so, we urge you to do so now. The easiest way to complete it is online at www.FVAP.gov. Depending on your State’s rules, you then send it to your local election officials electronically or by mail.

Mailing guidance. Print out the completed FPCA and the (U.S.) postage-paid envelope containing the address of your local election officials. You can drop off the postage-paid envelope (containing your FPCA) at the Embassy, and we will mail it back home for you without the need to pay international postage. If it’s easier for you to use France’s postal system, be sure to affix sufficient international postage and allow sufficient time for international mail delivery.

Embassy Paris drop box: You may drop your signed, dated, sealed FPCA registration or ballot in the Consular Section drop box:

a. Go to the Consular Section entrance of the Paris Embassy with your registration or ballot;

b. Announce that you would like to drop off voting materials;

c. Present suitable ID (preferably a passport);

d. Present the registration or ballot;

e. After the security check, place the ballot in the ballot box.

Need help? Go to the Embassy’s voting website page to receive assistance. Voting Assistance Officers or private U.S. citizen volunteers in France may also help you. (NOTE: It is acceptable for private U.S. citizens or U.S. citizens’ groups to collect FPCAs and deliver them to the Embassy on behalf of other eligible voters, as long as each FPCA is in its own U.S. postage-paid envelope.)

Make your vote count! Follow your State’s absentee voting procedures carefully. Send in your FPCA before the registration deadline. When you get your ballot, vote and mail it promptly so it reaches local election officials by your State’s absentee ballot receipt deadline.
Questions? If you have any questions about registering to vote, please contact the Paris Voting Assistance Officer by email at VoteParis@state.gov

Obama, G8 in Normandy, summary of e-G8 summit in Paris

The G8 Summit in France starts today.

Figaro has a special report section dedicated to the summit as well as the G20.

This past Tuesday and Wednesday, there was a precursor, “e-G8” event in Paris bringing together internet experts and goverment ministers to discuss the future of the web, net neutrality, its implications and its role in society. You can check out the official site here. Attendees included Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, Google’s Eric Schmidt, News Corp’s Rupert Murdoch, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos.

You can also check out videos on the eG8 YouTube channel.

Is predicted to be a boom for the city and region’s image and tourism

Bonjour Paris: my article on France, EU response to Middle East

February 7th, 2011 6 comments

I write in this week’s Bonjour Paris an article about Tunisia, Egypt, the situation in the Middle East and the response of the US and the EU (including France). You can read it here.

Bonjour Paris article: French & EU economy, Davos…

January 30th, 2011 No comments

I have an article covering a wide array of subjects in this week’s Bonjour Paris. This includes the French economy, Nicolas Sarkozy at Davos, Obama and the French, fashion week, gay marriage in France…You can read it here.

Wikileaks, Sarkozy and France’s reaction

December 12th, 2010 No comments

In this week’s Bonjour Paris, I write about the Wikileaks scandal and the reaction in France. Excerpts below. Click on original story for links.

France has not surprisingly reacted strongly to the leaks, and many French media sites have profiled the story. This site describes, among other things, how the cables match up with different geographic locations, especially given the fact that the vast majority of the 251,287 cables are not yet available.

President Nicolas Sarkozy was described by some American diplomats as “susceptible and authoritarian”, a view many of his countrymen hold but that is revealing to find in the inner circles of American statesmanship. But of course, these messages were not intended to be read all over the world by non-diplomats, and the U.S. is far from the only country with sensitive, potentially offensive, information in its inner diplomatic cables.

Sarkozy was also profiled as “the most pro-American” president in France since WWII, and in 2006 before he took office, he had suggested that France could possibly send in forces to Iraq to help their American counterparts. This gesture was well appreciated by the Bush Administration, even if it did not come to fruition. U.S. diplomats also characterize Sarkozy as the “most influential leader in Europe” who is a “brilliant, impatient, undiplomatic, unpredictable, charming, innovative pragmatic.” American authorities were also interested in Sarkozy’s Jewish heritage and how that could affect France’s Middle East policy (it is traditionally pro-Arab). But he is also described in a bad light as “impulsive and frenetic.” Now France is “scrambling” to avoid its own scandal similar to Wikileaks.

Obama film Nov. 17 at American University of Paris

November 9th, 2010 2 comments

I thought this would interest my readers in Paris….this is taking place at the American University of Paris. Remember to register (email at bottom):

You are cordially invited to the screening of “The United States of Obama,” a documentary made by Franck Guérin and Emmanuel Leconte (Production: Doc en Stock / Arte 2010 – 50’).

The screening will take place on Wednesday, November 17, in the Grand Salon at 19:00 (AUP is at 31 Avenue Bosquet, 75007 Paris).

This documentary recounts the journey of two young filmmakers into the thick of the heart of the United States and portrays the country’s view on Obama’s national politics. It is a log-book of travelling across the U.S., a few months before the first midterm elections of Barack Obama’s presidency. The trip took the filmmakers from the Gulf of Mexico at the worst time of BP’s oil spill to the city of Chicago, home of President Obama. They tried to see what was left of the hope, dreams and great enthusiasm raised by his election on November 4, 2008.

During their journey, they met with the “man on the street” and local personalities: fishermen affected by the oil spill, opponents to Obama’s Health Reform, fans of the president, close collaborators, disappointed supporters… The testimonies are raw and honest, touching and profound, sometimes violent. One thing is certain – as the results of the recent midterm elections clearly show – if Obama is the coolest president abroad, he remains a controversial figure in his own country.

The screening will be followed by a discussion with the filmmakers and a buffet. Registration necessary. Please email: ndebroise@aup.fr

Bonjour Paris newsletter: French government news, strike update

November 8th, 2010 2 comments

I write for Bonjour Paris and this week I have a piece about the French government cabinet reshuffle with updates on the strike movement (which seems to be dying down as the retirement reform bill is set to become law). Check out other articles on the site as well, on such subjects like French wine, hotel recommendations, Obama-Sarkozy relationship and more. Excerpts below from my article. I’ll be sure to update you on any strike situation that could affect you.

Indeed, the strikes on Nov. 6 saw significantly less participation, with unions divided about the future of the movement. Figaro asserts that the movement has loss all momentum. Le Point writes that as turnout was lower than previous days, tension is high among unions about the future. They will decide Monday on whether or not to carry out further action. I will let you know what they decide.

In the wake of several weeks that have seen strikes around France in protest against French retirement reform proposed and enacted by President Sarkozy’s government, the “movement” has calmed down significantly since the somewhat violent clashes between youth and police in Lyon and elsewhere a couple weeks ago.

Where do we stand now? The pension reform law has been voted by Parliament (both Assemblée Nationale and Sénat) and is now awaiting final approval by the Conseil Constitutionnel (the Constitutional Council, a bi-partisan board that evaluates the constitutionality of proposed laws) before becoming official law.

The unions called for a strike on Saturday Nov. 6, but following the relatively low turnout for protests compared to past demonstrations, they are thinking about the future of other days of action. Even if the reform becomes law, despite its “injustice” in the eyes of unions, they say they would continue to demonstrate and protest in policies linked to purchasing power, working conditions and other issues for them. The French Left is now considering actions to capitalize on the frustration of the streets, according to Libération, to prepare for the 2012 presidential elections.

Meanwhile the government is preparing for a reshuffle of ministers, with rumors surrounding the Prime Minister François Fillon and whether or not he will be replaced by Jean-Louis Borloo (current Minister of Ecology and Energy, Sustainable Development and Town and Country Planning).

In the conservative Figaro, a poll finds that nearly 87% of respondents want Fillon to stay on. Indeed, his level of popularity has remained higher than Sarkozy for a long time now. Many French see him as intelligent, calm and composed as opposed to the hyper-active and micro-managing President.

One thing is for sure. France is the midst of significant social change that will have an impact in years to come, and for many French, 2012 could not come soon enough. But there is a lot of time between now and then, and Sarkozy could make a come-back. That looks unlikely at the moment.

French media reaction to US midterms

November 3rd, 2010 4 comments

Following my post on US election coverage in France, the media is now reacting to the results: a convincing Republican victory in the House of Representatives, in state legislatures and governors races, whereas the Democrats held on to a majority – though not fillibuster proof of 60 – in the Senate. If you want inside DC news, I recommend Politico. BBC has a quality special report on the elections as well. The Economist also features an insightful debate about the outcome of the elections and what they could mean for US politics in the next couple years:

http://economist.pb.feedroom.com/pb-comp/economist/custom8/player.swf?Environment=&SiteID=economist&SiteName=TheEconomist&SkinName=custom8&ChannelID=13f850c882b46b0d9f3ebe670ff8fa7cade671c7&StoryID=1ff082cd3d0e256fa57b768554dab0c48cad8175&Volume=.5

On the French side, Le Figaro has a special report covering the people, the events and the US political system with insight. In an interesting poll asking readers if they are satisfied by the US election results, the responses are almost split: just over 50% say “no”, begging the question if readers of the Figaro are happy that Obama suffered a political setback, that the US government will be split or if they are relieved Democrats held on to the Senate. It would be better to have some context here.

France 24 gives a special video report on the results and presents complete coverage.

Libération has a special report on the elections as well. Le Point adds to the mix with interesting pieces on Obama and the GOP and the rise of the Tea Party.

Le Monde writes a feature on the same subject and gives an interesting video of how the elections were viewed from France.

Stratfor offers an interesting analysis of foreign views of the US midterms and Obama abroad.

What the Health Care Overhaul Means for Americans Abroad

With the recent passing of the new health care bill in the US, I thought posting this piece from the New York Times was timely:

March 23, 2010, 11:19 AM
What the Health Care Overhaul Means for Americans Abroad
By JENNIFER SARANOW SCHULTZ
On Monday, Times reporters answered reader questions about how the health care overhaul will affect consumers. But one reader question that remained unanswered was how the legislation will affect Americans abroad. Here’s the answer.

According to Tom Rose, chairman of the Association of Americans Resident Overseas‘ Committee on Social Security and Medicare, the legislation doesn’t have any effect on Americans abroad, except that it exempts them from the penalty for not subscribing to health insurance in the United States. “That is only logical as most Americans abroad have coverage in their country of residence,” Mr. Rose said.

Similarly, the Web site of the American Citizens Abroad organization pointed out that, as of January, neither the House nor Senate bill would tax Americans abroad for not having insurance in the United States, and both “specifically exclude overseas Americans from proposed mandatory U.S. health insurance coverage.”

According to the organization, an earlier version of the Senate health plan would have taxed Americans abroad.

But the group noted on its site that provisions for financing the legislation were “likely to affect Americans overseas, whether they be additional taxes on high incomes or increased deductions for Medicare and Social Security (which would affect American-owned businesses abroad).”

How do you think the legislation will affect Americans living abroad? If you’re an expat, how do you think the legislation may affect you?

France sees U.S. as main obstacle to climate deal

November 16th, 2009 1 comment

Reuters

By Emmanuel Jarry

PARIS, Nov 15 (Reuters) – The United States is the main obstacle to concluding an ambitious agreement at the Copenhagen meeting on climate change next month, French Environment Minister Jean-Louis Borloo said on Sunday.

Speaking after world leaders meeting in Singapore said it was unrealistic to expect binding targets to be negotiated by the time the meeting starts on Dec. 7, Borloo said Washington was posing the biggest difficulty.

“The problem is the United States, there’s no doubt about that,” Borloo, who has coordinated France’s Copenhagen negotiating effort, told Reuters in an interview.

“It’s the world’s number one power, the biggest emitter (of greenhouse gases), the biggest per capita emitter and it’s saying ‘I’d like to but I can’t’. That’s the issue,” he said.

Borloo’s comments follow a joint declaration by President Nicolas Sarkozy and his Brazilian counterpart Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva on Saturday, aimed at committing rich countries to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent from 1990 levels by 2050.

Borloo said France was looking at an option that would allow countries that had not signed up to the Kyoto protocol, including the United States some leeway, possibly including allowing it an extra delay of some years to meet targets.

“There needs to be international pressure on the United States, that’s clear,” Borloo said. “But at the same time, we have to allow some flexibility in the formulation.”

But he said this did not mean compromising on the need for an “irreversible, binding and measurable” commitment.

World leaders agreed on Sunday to a two-stage plan aimed at securing a political accord at the Dec. 7-18 talks, to be followed by a process of working out binding commitments on targets, finance and technology transfer.

This would allow time for the U.S. Senate to pass carbon-capping legislation, allowing the Obama administration to bring a 2020 target and financing pledges to the table at a major U.N. climate meeting in Bonn in mid-2010.

Borloo said such a deal could not be allowed to get in the way of binding commitments. If a political agreement “means vague and non-binding declarations of intent, the answer is no,” he said.

“Behind the word ‘political’ there has to be precise declarations with figures,” he said.

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