When AARO was founded in 1973, Americans living abroad without a residence in the United States did not have the right to vote in US elections.
In 1975, two members of the AARO board, Phyllis Michaux and Sonja Minçbère, thought up what would become the “teabag campaign”, which was ultimately picked up by scores of American organizations around the world.
In response to the floods of teabags being sent to Washington with a cover letter urging support for two bills, Congress passed the needed legislation and on January 2, 1976, President Ford signed the law giving overseas Americans the right to vote.
Since then, AARO has worked with its partner organizations and with Congress to improve voting legislation and expand voting rights for the overseas community.
Today, thanks to sophisticated technology, it is easier than ever for overseas voters to exercise their rights, but organizations like AARO have to – and do – remain watchful. The Federal Voting Assistance Program has estimated that overseas citizens represent over 3% of the total vote, and we all know that elections can be won by far less than that!
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