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Blast off!

Saturn rocket

Saturn rocket

(Keystone)

Morning! In 24 hours we may know the name of the new president of the United States – that is if there are no legal challenges or recounts.

Many of the 6.3 million Americans who live overseas already voted weeks ago. According to the US State Department website, this time round the voting procedure for Americans abroad is “easier than ever before”.

But many expats surveyed by swissinfo.ch were not so convinced.

“You need to be a rocket scientist to work out how to vote properly in the US,” said Maya Samara, chair of Democrats Abroad Switzerland.

Samara said this year there were “lots of questions and confusion” as many people did not realize they had to re-register for the election, so mid-September she got dozens of mails and calls every day with people asking "where is my ballot? I used to always get it automatically, I’ve been living overseas for decades".

She added: “The weird thing about the US is that your ability to vote is so state specific. We can do a ton of work to help people to vote but once they get their ballot, every district, county and state handles it differently.”

“While a lot of people appreciated getting their ballot by email, after this election a lot of states will have to work on how to streamline and improve how they send their ballots.”

Edward Patrick Flaherty, co-chairman of Republicans Abroad Switzerland, said it had been easier for himself: “I faxed my ballot request and it came back by email and I printed and sent it. The whole process took 48 hours and previously it could take months. In that sense it’s got better.”

But he felt having to re-register may have an adverse effect on the numbers of Americans voters overseas: “It’s not so easy to re-register. Some accept fax or email but overall requiring that everyone re-registers, they probably lowered turnout as it’s another bureaucratic process you have to put yourself through.”

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